and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation
Post Office Box 1147  ●  Marblehead, Massachusetts 01945  ●  (508) 915-3665
“Every Tax is a Pay Cut ... A Tax Cut is a Pay Raise”

44 years as “The Voice of Massachusetts Taxpayers”
and their Institutional Memory

CLT Memo to GOP Representatives

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

NO to New Neighborhood Taxation

Contact:  Chip Ford, Executive Director

On May 30 the House passed H-4546 to establish "community benefit districts" ― which is nothing more than a stealthy way of creating a whole new tier of government with the power to create additional new taxes.  Effectively, it's an end-run around the restrictions of Proposition 2½ by dividing municipalities into "community benefit districts" that can then additionally tax residents of individual sub-divisions of cities and towns ― a new neighborhood tax.

Yours was one of those votes cast which supported creating this new neighborhood government and neighborhood taxing power.  We understand that the vote came up so quickly that many didn’t know what they were voting for.  It would seem that the default position when one doesn’t know what a bill would do should be a nay vote, but it happened.

At the time, the State House News Service reported:

"Lawmakers have previously attempted to give property owners the option of establishing community benefit districts, and included a provision authorizing them in the fiscal 2018 budget bill. That section was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker who said the assessments are 'the functional equivalent of new property taxes.'"

Gov. Baker was correct then, and this radical imposition remains “the functional equivalent of new property taxes” — nothing more than a sly end-run around Proposition 2½.

"Lawmakers . . . attempted to give property tax owners the option" to be taxed even more.  How very generous, if duplicitous.  Gov. Baker twice saw through the scheme, most recently last year, and he should again in 2018.

Sadly, the bill passed in the House with only two votes against it;  Reps Michelle DuBois (D-Brockton) and Denise Provost (D-Somerville).  There was not even a single Republican vote against this property tax hike subterfuge — not one.

"House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez said there is broad agreement on the legislation (H 4546) that passed the House on a 149-2 vote on Wednesday, which he described as a 'compromise.'

"'This local-option bill is going to allow property owners in a community to pool their resources together to improve community through this benefits district proposal,' Sanchez said on the floor Wednesday."

That is what municipal property taxes, auto excise taxes, fees, et cetera already do and what that revenue raised is supposed to fund.  Now the Legislature is attempting to further burden taxpayers with yet another  new ― layer of government with additional taxing authority:  the micro-municipality.

CLT executive director Chip Ford said, “Block by block they're coming for taxpayers.  Will the Legislature next propose also taxing us at the street level, then backyard by backyard? Today such speculation is not so far-fetched.”

Last week the Senate passed H-4546 by seven votes with 15 senators in opposition, both Democrats and Republicans.  Apparently they had more time to read and debate the bill, consider what they were voting on, and what it would inflict upon their constituents.

H-4546 is now back in your hands.  We hope you will take the time to read and consider it more closely.

We hope this time that you will not support this blatant end-run around Proposition 2½.

We hope that by your No vote you will provide Gov. Baker with the inspiration and support to again veto this new assault on taxpayers.

We hope that you will not continue as a participant in the creation of this new layer of government and taxation.  If H-4546 becomes law, it will be a very long-lasting legacy for those who supported it.  We hope you will not be known and remembered as one of them.

We ask that you reject this new tax ploy, H-4546.

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