Post Office Box 1147  ●  Marblehead, Massachusetts 01945  ●  (781) 639-9709
“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 News Release
Monday, December 17, 2018

Congratulations taxpayers — you just might outlive history!


Contact:  Chip Ford, Executive Director


Hang in there for another year and you might live long enough to see Hell freeze over!


The "temporary, 18-month" income tax hike of 1989 might finally return to its historic 5 percent a year from next month, three decades behind The Promise.


For those who don't recall — and after three decades of living under a "temporary" tax hike we expect there will be many — it was imposed after Gov. Michael S. Dukakis lost his bid to become president of the United States running on "The Massachusetts Miracle" that, like his campaign, was sputtering and ran out of gas.  The defeated candidate returned to his day job in the Bay State and hiked taxes to pay for the state's overspending and dodged Medicaid payments.  It was promised back then that the "temporary" tax hike would be imposed only "for 18-months," until the hidden bills were bailed out.


The state budget back then was a mere $12 Billion, compared to today's $42 Billion of spending.


The victorious President George H. W. Bush served one four-year term (1989-93), followed by presidents Bill Clinton (two terms, 1993–2001), George W. Bush (two terms, 2001–2009), Barack Obama (two terms, 2009–2017), and now President Trump since 2017.  History has moved ahead.


Still the "temporary" state income tax hike lives on like a vampire.


Voters mandated that it be rolled back to 5 percent with their overwhelming vote on the 2000 ballot.  (The same election that made George W. Bush the 43rd President of the United States for the first of his two terms.)


The Legislature responded two years later with a too-typical Beacon Hill middle-finger salute and "froze" the will of the voters and their tax rollback at 5.3 percent, the insult orchestrated by then-House Speaker Thomas Finneran and then-Senate President Thomas Birmingham.  That was before Finneran was indicted and convicted by the feds and resigned as the next in line of disgraced felonious House Speakers, followed by convicted House Speaker Sal DiMasi.  The current House Speaker is about to become the longest continuously-serving in state history.


History has moved ahead.


Where were you in July of 1989, when the income tax was raised "temporarily — for 18 months"?


Citizens for Limited Taxation was fighting to oppose its passage, then led the petition drive and ballot question campaign in 2000 that mandated it finally be rolled back to 5 percent.


But taxpayers' lifetime advocate, executive director emeritus Barbara Anderson, didn't live long enough to see her decades of effort succeed.  She passed away in 2016, the last time the tax was reduced by a miniscule five one-hundredths of one percent, to 5.10.  She died twenty-seven years after the "temporary" tax was imposed, a generation later.


How many more taxpayers have died or will before the Legislature keeps its 1989 promise to them?


Pardon us if we're not popping the champagne corks.  5.05 percent is a step in the right direction, but it is too little much, much too late.


It is most important for all of us to remember this bitter lesson of history the next time a politician makes a promise.


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Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    (781) 639-9709