Tuesday, May 10, 2011
CLT MEMO TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE
May 12 Hearing on Sales Tax
The following memo
was sent today to members of the committee, every state representative and senator
at the State
and to the media statewide.
To: Members of the Joint Committee on
From: Citizens of Limited Patience and Unlimited Institutional
Citizens for Limited Taxation won’t be there. Not after last week’s
hearing on the income tax hike, when we were first to sign the
signup sheet and got to speak three hours later only after liberal
legislators, liberal activists, liberal groups, liberal panels, and
liberal dreamers who think they can get a graduated income tax one
way or the other, and only after Chip Faulkner, the only attendee in
opposition, interrupted with a point of order.
To be helpful: you might want to confer with previous Taxation
Committee chairmen on how to run a fair hearing. To mention only two
who are still there: Sen. Dick Moore and Rep. Angelo
Scaccia, both of whom heard both sides of a controversial issue,
often taking turns from pro-con sign-up sheets so members of the
Committee could get a balanced picture. Rep. Scaccia sometimes set
up a mini-debate, hearing a representative from both sides of an
issue at the same time. (I think he did this to keep from being
bored, but credit where it’s due….) This would be difficult to do,
however, if the hearings don’t become more balanced and citizens who
aren’t the favored liberals don’t bother to attend. We hope Rep.
Kaufman does better next year on “comprehensive tax reform”.
However, Chip Faulkner reports that the time management was good,
with the “wind-up” reminder cards. Another good former chairman,
(John Businger, Steve Angelo?) used an egg-timer!
If more opponents of your long-desired graduated income tax had felt
it would be worth their effort to attend, you might have learned
that the SJC ruled in Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation vs.
Secretary of Administration in 1986 that when increased
exemptions show intent to effectively “tax the same class of income
at different rates,” you can’t do them. Since advocates testified
that the Chang-Diaz/O’Day bill is intended “to create a more fair
and progressive tax system by asking the wealthy to pay more, etc.,”
and were quoted in the media to this intent, we expect the SJC would
adhere to its precedent if the bill passed.
Also, we are familiar with the ploy to offset rate hikes for
lower-income taxpayers with increases in the personal exemption
(when this has passed constitutional muster because the motivation
was simply to keep up with inflation). Once the higher rates are in
place, the personal exemption gets reduced again in the next tax
hike package, and EVERYone’s taxes are higher.
We shall take this opportunity to once again thank
for his opposition to higher taxes, and to state our opposition to
an online sales tax and our support for rolling back the present
sales tax rate to its traditional 5 percent. Thank you for your
attention. Maybe we’ll show up for another hearing someday if we
learn that both sides are equally welcome.
— Barbara Anderson
Citizens for Limited Taxation ▪ PO
Box 1147 ▪ Marblehead, MA 01945