TEAM's Campaign of Fear, Lies and Unmitigated Greed
Runs Into Our Wall of Truth!

TEAM's campaign of fear, lies and unmitigated greed is spreading like the plague that it is. Meanwhile, we're out there getting the necessary signatures to ensure that the voters have the final say on keeping the eleven year-old promise.

Tax Rollback Committee chairman Paul Melkonian fired a shot across the "More Is Never Enough!" Gimme Lobby's bow in the report below, calling their sick campaign what it is and letting the fear-mongers know we are not going to let them get away with their lies and scare tactics. Good for you, Paul!

If you didn't know he's uneffected by it, you'd have to feel badly for TEAM's Jimmy St. George. Imagine having to wake up every morning and wonder how you can best scare children and the elderly today just to stand a chance of not losing in November; how you were going to con the next group of newspaper editors or reporters into believing your hopeless spin. It's got to be a tough way to get by day-to-day.

But not for Jimmy; he thrives in the swamp of lies and greed.

The battle is on, but first we must produce the required signatures. We need your help to accomplish that. I hope we can count on your participation. Thanks much for whatever you can do to help us win the day against greed, lies and broken promises.

CFord-Sig2.gif (4854 bytes)

Chip Ford

If you were NOT a CLT volunteer petitioner last fall and want to help us help you now

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Mass.
Monday, May 15, 2000

Group mobilizes to fight tax cut
By Jennifer Fenn
Eagle Statehouse Bureau

BOSTON -- A group opposed to Gov. Paul Cellucci's income tax cut proposal is mounting a massive statewide campaign to convince taxpayers that the rollback is not affordable and that it is unfair and irresponsible.

Meanwhile, tax cut proponents are pounding the pavement to make sure they have enough signatures to place the issue before voters in November. They also are waging a counterattack, accusing the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts (TEAM) of spreading lies to scare the public into opposing the rollback.

TEAM sent out its first mass mailing last week urging residents to oppose the tax cut plan, which is headed for November's ballot as long as the Tax Rollback Committee collects 10,000 signatures by June 21.

Even though the state's population base is in eastern Massachusetts, the group is spreading out across the commonwealth, holding meetings from North Adams to Fitchburg to Boston.

"A voter in North Adams counts just as much as a voter in Boston," said James St. George, executive director of TEAM, which has organized the Campaign for Massachusetts' Future.

Cellucci's proposal would roll back the personal income tax rate to 5 percent by 2003. The Cellucci administration says the tax cut would save the average family of four up to $500.

But it would also take $1.2 billion out of the state's coffers and jeopardize state programs and squander opportunities to invest in the future, said St. George.

"We know from our own polling that voters will always say yes to a tax cut until they see a trade-off that a tax cut creates," St. George said.

"We know they'd rather spend the state surplus on reducing class sizes, fixing school buildings and expanding access to health care. All of those are more important to people. Our strategy is just to travel around the state as many days as we can to as many locations to explain that [that] is the trade-off."

St. George pointed to figures from the state Department of Revenue that show communities suffer when the state's revenues go down. For example, between 1988 and 1993, the amount of local aid to Adams dropped 42 percent; North Adams, 22 percent; Pittsfield, 31 percent; and Great Barrington, 50 percent.

School aid also went down during that same time period, he said. Adams lost 80 percent; Great Barrington, 64 percent; North Adams, 38 percent, and Pittsfield, 29 percent.

"The point is, when the state gets in financial trouble, the first place it cuts is local aid," St. George said.

But Paul Melkonian, chairman of the Tax Rollback Committee, said the state budget will continue to grow, despite the tax cut, and that key programs will not be jeopardized. In fact, budget cuts would be more likely if voters do not approve the tax rollback to help spur the economy.

"We're going to counteract their campaign, which is one of fear and misinformation, with factual information that gives them the case to vote for the rollback," Melkonian said. "When TEAM talks about cuts to the budget, they're lying. Not a penny needs to be cut from any existing program. It's just not true and I think people will see through it."

TEAM will be drawing support from a broad-based coalition of education and health-care advocates, labor unions, human service organizations, state and local elected officials, including Senate President Thomas Birmingham, D-Chelsea; House Speaker Thomas Finneran, D-Mattapan; and the Massachusetts Mayors Association. Mayors opposed to the tax cut include Leominster Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella, Fitchburg Mayor Mary Whitney, Pittsfield Mayor Gerald S. Doyle Jr. and North Adams Mayor John Barrett III.

The tax cut has support from more conservative groups, such as Citizens for Limited Taxation, Republican town committees and key elected officials like Cellucci.

Melkonian said it doesn't surprise him that the mayors oppose the tax cut, because they don't want to part with any money.

"They're politicians and they want taxpayer money to spend," Melkonian said. "There's no other reason for it. They threaten property tax hikes, but they're sitting on millions of dollars in free cash. The government everywhere is swimming in cash."

So besides collecting signatures, Melkonian said the committee is trying to dispel the untruths he claims TEAM is spreading.

"We're doing outreach to groups and organizations, but our concentration now is to get over the hurdles of the signatures," Melkonian said. "TEAM's been making its pitch - elderly people will die, we'll never be able to afford health care. It's a bunch of bunk. They've been out there trying to scare people."

He said the proponents will simply state the facts and focus on four key issues: Lawmakers promised that the hike would be temporary; the tax cut will help working families; that it will impose fiscal discipline on a free-spending Legislature; and that it will keep Massachusetts competitive.

Melkonian said local aid was cut over the past decade because a Democratic governor and Democratic Legislature built the budget up so high it couldn't sustain the spending during the recession.

"And that's what they're doing now," he said.

NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to:

Return to CLT Updates page

Return to CLT home page

Return to "The Sky Is Falling" page