CLT Update
Monday, March 12, 2001

CLT calls on Attorney General Tom Reilly
to end "Taxation through Litigation" in Microsoft Case

In conjunction with the National Taxpayers Union, and in response to its request to NTU state affiliates, CLT today joined with other state taxpayer groups around the country and issued the following news release.

Chip Ford


For Immediate Release
Monday, March 12, 2001

Contact: Chip Ford - (781) 631-6842

CLT calls on Attorney General Tom Reilly
to end "Taxation through Litigation" in Microsoft Case

Citizens for Limited Taxation urges Attorney General Thomas Reilly to drop his taxpayer-funded litigation against Microsoft. Former-Attorney General Scott Harshbarger originally joined the antitrust suit against Microsoft and Reilly has perpetuated Massachusetts' participation.

According to a document filed with the federal court last summer, our state attorney general seeks reimbursement from Microsoft for taxpayers' money spent by his office; almost $900,000. How can his office justify pouring "3,666 hours" into this case?

"'Taxation through litigation' as a revenue substitute must end," said Chip Ford, director of operations for Citizens for Limited Taxation. "Whether it's 'Big Tobacco,' firearms manufacturers, a deep-pockets software corporation, or high-cholesterol foods (no doubt the next target), this recent backdoor revenue scam must stop. Ultimately, as witnessed with the tobacco settlement, it is taxpayers who fund these attacks, win or lose, consumers who pay any settlement, and only government and trial lawyers that profit."

Microsoft has appealed the federal judge's break-up ruling to an appellate panel, which is highly critical of that judgment. President Bush has nominated a new Justice Department antitrust chief for confirmation: Charles James appears more sympathetic to Microsoft's position than his predecessor. It's unlikely that the Bush Justice Department will appeal the panel's decision if it favors Microsoft, but it seems that some of the 19 states which have joined the suit are considering their own appeal.

We hope Massachusetts will not be one of them. It's time for our attorney general to accept the new political reality, cut our losses, and stop throwing good taxpayer money after bad. It's time to end taxation through litigation.

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