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Memo to the Legislature
Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FY 2014 budget and tax increases

Remember, the Legislature has already passed a tax on gas, cigarettes, and computer services “for transportation” that adds an additional $500 million plus to the burden of already overburdened taxpayers.

Remember, Massachusetts taxpayers already pay the 4th highest state and local tax burdens per capita in the nation. The Washington-based nonpartisan Tax Foundation also reports that in 2013, Massachusetts was the fourth-latest state to reach Tax Freedom Day, the date on which we Bay Staters can finally begin working for ourselves after every cent we earned prior went to federal, state and local taxation. For the nation overall, that date was April 18th; for Massachusetts it was April 25th.

Therefore:  CLT sees no reason to increase taxes again.

What is the connection between transportation funding and smokers and computer services?

It eludes us how "transportation taxes" specifically support transportation, when it is spent in other areas. Over the years we’ve seen the gas tax spent on other things, while the infrastructure is still neglected; hence our lack of trust.

Tying the gas tax hike forever to inflation (while ignoring potential deflation) automatically – without any future consideration or courage of a vote in the Legislature – is irresponsible and cynical. The tax on computer services is irresponsible because no one knows how much damage it will do to how much of the economy.

Is there a desire to elicit taxpayer gratitude for ignoring Governor Patrick’s legacy tax hike wish-list of some $1.9 billion? Another half billion of our dollars transferred from our pockets to government’s coffers is still a problem for us.

Year after year, decade after decade, the Legislature unconscionably keeps increasing the burden on taxpayers while the cost of state government spending continues its apparently inexorable skyward spiral. Even when the voters in 2000 mandated “roll it back to 5%” the income tax remains “frozen” at 5.25%. Why don’t most legislators respect the voters?

When is enough enough? There’s a reason CLT named itself Citizens for Limited Taxation: our founders noted an assumption on the part of state government that there should be no limit at all!

If this is the case, it’s time for a better vision. Rejecting the governor’s call for an income tax hike was a good start. We also need more legislators who will eagerly embrace suggestions for the reform and transparency that lead to spending reductions. We need taxpayer advocates in the Legislature who recognize and appreciate those who provide everything upon which government depends.

Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665