and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation


Sunday, December 15, 2002

Legislature targets for kill citizens' last chance

It's time to sit up and pay very serious attention.

Very serious attention.

It's true that the Legislature over the past few years has attempted to kill the citizens initiative and referendum process, virtually. You merely have to look at the voter-approved Clean Elections Law, our income tax rollback, or the charitable deductions law for obvious evidence. They simply ignore it, or overrule it.

And it's also true that the Legislature has learned how to get what they want by putting a dubiously-phrased question on the ballot that benefits legislators themselves ... like their constitutional amendment guaranteeing them perpetual pay raises (1998), untouchable by their employers, us taxpayers.

But, never have they been so emboldened as to attempt to eviscerate the right of the citizens to petition their government, guaranteed under Article 48 of the state constitution adopted in 1918.

Until now.

Methinks that Carla Howell's ballot question to eliminate the state income tax -- and the 46 percent approval it received -- scared them down to their socks and then some.

So now a constitutional amendment has been proposed by state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) to literally kill the initiative petition process by making the task so onerous as to discourage undertaking, to make a successful signature drive practicably impossible.

The actual death of the initiative petition process, the only real voice of democracy left to we the people of Massachusetts.

CLT's "Saving Democracy Project" has begun. We will be joined in this effort, for the potential of this abominable usurpation of our rights affects every organization, every individual who has ever resorted to the I&R process over its near-century's history -- liberal, conservative, libertarian, or whatever -- or ever will. This is a long-term battle, but as all-powerful and iron-fisted as they've become, the Beacon Hill pols will not steal this right forever from the people without the biggest, bloodiest war they've ever instigated against their constituents.

Visit CLT's "Save Democracy Project"

If we lose this right too it's all over ... and the Beacon Hill pols recognize it as well, and they're moving in for the kill.

As Revolutionary War naval war John Paul Jones asserted, "We have not yet begun to fight!"

To paraphrase the group Bachman-Turner Overdrive (or Al Jolson, I'm told) , they ain't
seen nothing yet!

Chip Ford

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