Governor Charlie Baker
Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St.
Office of the Governor, Room 280
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Governor Baker;
CLT and its members are concerned with one obscure sentence, a small
section within S.2412, the "Student Opportunity Act." Section 21(b)(vi)
— Page 31, lines 610-613 of the bill — states:
(vi) an analysis of the impact of Proposition 2½ on the ability of
municipalities to make their required local contributions in the
short-term and long-term and recommendations to mitigate the
constraints of Proposition 2½;
As you know, Proposition 2½ was drafted with and includes as part of the
law its own built-in “mitigation” of its “restraints.” That mitigation,
known as operational and debt exclusion overrides, has worked very well
for now almost forty years since our property tax limitation law was
adopted on the 1980 ballot by a majority of voters.
There is no need to further “mitigate the constraints,” and, if
Proposition 2½ is ever to be amended or weakened it should not be in a
manner such as what was stealthily inserted into this important
This inconspicuous incursion was first added to the original Senate bill
by Amendment #27. It did not appear in the subsequent House version of
the bill; in fact Amendment #2, which attempted to insert it into the
House bill, was withdrawn during the House debate.
We hope you will amend the education bill on your desk by striking out
this small but concerning section; that you will not confirm this subtle
erosion of a property tax limitation law that has well-served homeowners
and property taxpayers over the decades.
We anticipate that if you strike that small section it will be sustained
by the Legislature, as it was intentionally not included in the House
With the conference committee requirement of an up-or-down vote on its
report without amendments, legislators’ options were restricted to
passing or defeating the entire comprehensive bill worked toward for
years. Defeating the education bill over a small, unrelated amendment
to it at the last minute was untenable, so the bill in its entirety was
passed and enacted, then delivered to you for your signature.
We believe your surgical excision of that late amendment, rejected in
the House, would be sustained by the Legislature upon its return and the
bill would become law without doing harm.
We know how much you value Proposition 2½. We remember your kind words
at the celebration of life event we held for Barbara Anderson on June 5,
2016, shortly after she passed away. In your remembrance of her you
strongly asserted: “Prop 2½ was probably the single most important
thing to happen to fiscal and economic policy in the Commonwealth of
Mass in my lifetime. Period. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just
Citizens for Limited Taxation, its members, and property taxpayers
across the Commonwealth ask you to return S.2412, the "Student
Opportunity Act," only after striking Section 21(b)(vi) — a single
sentence which could present significant tax consequences in the near
Thank you for your consideration.