CLT Update
Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Savor the victory of "a national first"!

What TEAM's Jimmy St. George termed an "obscene joke" is now on him and his "More Is Never Enough!" tax-and-spend crowd.

Our voluntary tax check-off was adopted in the House budget yesterday ... and the concept of voluntarily paying more if you choose also was extended to "Community Preservation"!

"It may be a national first," Boston Herald reporter Steve Marantz observed is his report [below], and this is one "first" that CLT members can be proud of, because it all started here.

Voluntary taxes -- a national model!

"I always vote for tax increases Republicans propose," asserted Democrat state Rep. Byron Rushing of Boston, but he missed the point entirely. It's not a tax "increase" -- it's a tax contribution as long as it's voluntary. How could anyone, in good conscience, vote against it?

The first major obstacle to our voluntary tax has been cleared and is now in our rear-view mirror. Onward to the Senate!

Congratulations, CLT members. Not only have we kept the promise and rolled back the state income tax rate, but we've created the perfect solution for our opponents, who insisted that they didn't want or need tax relief, those who cry out more, more, more for all their "unmet needs."

If adopted next by the Senate, they themselves can provide all the more they desire effortlessly, without any coercion, simply by checking off a box on their tax returns.

We win, they win. It doesn't get any better!

Chip Ford

PS. In another taxpayers victory yesterday, the proposed increase in the capital gains tax was soundly defeated by a vote of 43-111.


The Boston Herald
Tuesday, May 1, 2001

House approves bill offering taxpayers option to dig deeper
by Steve Marantz

In what may be a national first, the House yesterday approved a measure providing Bay State taxpayers a check-off on state income tax forms to voluntarily pay more tax.

The passage of the voluntary income tax measure was mildly surprising to its Republican sponsors on the first day of the budget debate, as Democrats denied most of their other tax proposals, most involving targeted cuts.

The bill initially was seen as a playful tweak of opponents of the income tax rollback last fall.

"This is serious -- if people want to pay more than they're required to they should be able to," said Rep. Francis L. Marini (R-Hanson), House minority leader.

Said Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston), "I always vote for tax increases Republicans propose."

Department of Revenue analysts are unable to estimate the potential revenue from voluntary tax payments, Marini said. But with 40 percent of the electorate voting against the tax rollback, it's reasonable to project 10 percent volunteering more taxes, he said.

Another proponent, Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation, said it would be "hypocritical" of anti-rollback activists to not voluntarily pay more.

"If you're out there fighting for higher taxes certainly you should put your share forward when you have the chance," said Anderson.

Under CLT's Senate version of the bill, the Department of Revenue will report annually the amount derived from the voluntary check-off.

In another innovative measure, the House approved an individual property tax check-off for a Voluntary Community Preservation Fund.

Under the bill, homeowners living in communities not participating in the Community Preservation Act can elect to make voluntary contributions to a fund that would be matched by the commonwealth.

The fund can be used by the town for open space acquisition, historic preservation, and affordable housing.

A Republican proposal to increase the property tax abatement for blind homeowners was sent to a study committee. Tax cuts for families caring for persons over the age of 70, and for people spending more than $1,200 a year on health insurance, were blocked.

Another Republican measure stipulating that any amendment increasing the budget require a corresponding decrease was defeated.

Still to come are the main events, including the proposed $10 million funding of the Clean Elections Law -- to be debated today -- and the proposed revocation of the long-term capital gains tax phase-out law.

The latter would tax long-term gains -- now at 0 percent for assets held at six years or longer -- at the 12 percent rate accorded short-term gains.

The Department of Revenue estimates that the measure would result in $1.6 billion in additional tax revenues over the next three years.

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