Vote on Tax Rollback Petition

Monday, May 1, 2000

To:  Members of the General Court

Re:  Roll call vote on Income Tax Rollback Initiative Petition

Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution states: "If an initiative petition for a law is introduced into the general court, signed [by the required numbers of voters], a vote shall be taken by yeas and nays in both houses before the first Wednesday in May."

The income tax rollback initiative petition is scheduled to be released from the Joint Committee on Taxation at 3 PM on Tuesday. This does not give you much time to carry out your constitutional duty, but we are confident that it can be done.

After all, the 1994 legislative pay raise was accomplished in one day (December 2nd), and that day also included the public hearing, which has already been held on the income tax rollback initiative.

If the petition is released at 3:15, there can be a House debate and roll call vote, a Senate debate and roll call vote, and final enactment by 10 PM bedtime, easily.

It is one thing to violate House rules, as we understand they were violated:

1.  by phantom voting during the budget debate;

2.  with a vote to increase expense allowances after the date "30 days before the filing of nomination papers," also during the budget debate (and could be subject to nullification should someone object on final enactment of the budget);

3.  when the House voted without a roll call to increase the compensation of Education Committee members, and;

4.  when the House voted after the date "30 days before the filing of nomination papers" to increase the compensation of Education Committee members.

We hope you do not also plan to violate the Massachusetts Constitution.

If you respect and abide by the state Constitution and take your vote as it mandates, we hope you will vote "Yea" to keep the promise to rollback the income tax rate to 5 percent. In 1980, only five legislators voted for Proposition 2, six months before the voters overwhelmingly passed it 59-41 percent. The polls show that we will win this time, too. Why not get credit for keeping the promise yourselves?

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