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 House Members
Monday, July 30, 2018

NO to New Neighborhood Taxation

To:  Members of the Massachusetts House
Cc:  Members of the Massachusetts Senate

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 neighbor government and neighborhood taxing power.  We understand that the vote came up so quickly that many didn’t know or appreciate the ramifications of what they were voting for.

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 if passed we hope he will 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.

"House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez said . . . '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.'”

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, a neighborhood tax.

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.”

The Senate recently passed H-4546 by seven votes with 15 senators in opposition, both Democrats and Republicans.  Apparently they had more time to read the bill and appreciate the consequences, 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 more carefully consider what it will inflict upon your constituents ― all who will pay this inevitable new tax.

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 at least provide Gov. Baker with the inspiration and support to again veto this new assault on your constituent taxpayers.

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