MEMO TO THE LEGISLATURE:
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
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 2½, 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