Limited Taxation
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CLT Update
Tuesday, January 4, 2000


"We'll do it the way the system is meant to work. If people get enough signatures, you have a pro and con."

Jimmy St. George
on TEAM's situational ethics
(aka, Making lemonade out of lemons)

Here we go, off into a new year and new millennium with a grand boost! December 31st was the deadline for any challenges to petition signatures and none were challenged. Yesterday our tax rollback petition, along with the other eight, were transferred by the secretary of state to the Legislature, where it will undoubtedly languish. Then we'll go out in the spring and collect those 9,517 additional signatures to put it on the November ballot.

And there goes "Whining Jimmy" St. George -- mouthpiece for the selfish teachers union and greedy Gimme Lobby: Again their display of situational ethics, further highlighting his hypocrisy. Will the boy never learn; really, how low can he wallow?

At least he came clean ... eventually. The Greed Lobby is not challenging our signatures this time only because they recognize it would be an expensive and foolish exercise in desperation.

Chip Ford

Chip Ford

Ballot questions head to lawmakers
By Associated Press
Tuesday, January 4, 2000

BOSTON (AP) Nine proposed ballot questions asking voters' opinions on everything from dog racing to the income tax will be forwarded this week to lawmakers after escaping initial challenges.

"It's intriguing there's not a challenge in sight at this point," Secretary of State William Galvin said Monday. "It looks like it's going to be an extremely busy initiative year."

Galvin said activists appeared to have been extra careful gathering signatures, and plenty of them, following a Supreme Court ruling last year.

The ruling said any stray markings could invalidate whole pages of petition signatures.

In response, some activists turned in two or three times the 57,100 signatures required.

Republican Gov. Paul Cellucci teamed up with Citizens for Limited Taxation to gather more than 150,000 signatures to urge a rollback in the state income tax to 5 percent. More than 30,000 were rejected, still leaving an abundant surplus.

Two years ago, a tax cut proposal failed to make it on the ballot after the liberal, union-backed Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts challenged the signatures. The measure ultimately came up about 355 signatures short.

But this year, TEAM decided not to challenge the signatures.

Executive Director Jim St. George said the group planned to fight the measure's merits, but not its signatures.

"We'll do it the way the system is meant to work. If people get enough signatures, you have a pro and con," he said.

Two years ago, he said CLT had only 80 surplus signatures, which was difficult enough to research and knock off. With thousands extra, he said, it did not make sense to mount a challenge.

"I don't think there was any remote chance that you were going to find that many mistakes," St. George said. "Our challenge two years ago showed people if you cut it too close to the margin, you could be in trouble."

The Legislature will have the opportunity to act on the proposals this session, which resumes Wednesday. If they don't approve them by May, activists can collect less than 10,000 additional signatures to take their case to voters in November.

Other initiatives include proposals to ban the use of the most toxic pesticides around schools; expand health care coverage; give tax breaks to those who pay tolls and auto excise taxes; change drug forfeiture laws; increase tax deductions for charitable giving; and force cable TV networks to offer Internet service through competing providers.

An initiative that is being forwarded to lawmakers, but wouldn't be on this November's ballot, involves easing the restrictions on state aid to religious or private schools.

The measure would need to be approved by two joint sittings of the House and Senate before being forwarded to voters because it requires an amendment to the state constitution.

Also, the proposal is being debated in court after it was rejected by the attorney general in his review of the questions.

Galvin said other initiatives could still be subject to court disputes, but none of them were challenged for lack of qualified signatures.

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