Limited Taxation & Government
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CLT&G Update
Wednesday, July 22, 1998

Greetings activists and supporters:

This somewhat gloomy day in state history sadly provides more fuel for those critics among us, as if we needed any more, and surely must satisfy those who yet have been unable to understand our naked cynicism and contempt for government and politicians of all stripes and persuasions.

On one hand, we have a fully-funded $19.6 billion dollar state budget, the largest in the history of the state -- and a $1.3 billion dollar surplus collected entirely from the excess "temporary" income tax rate hike and the Legislature's latest broken promise.

Yet when there is talk of giving back a little more of that excess revenue as a one-time increase in the personal exemption -- as theoretically was intended (if you're gullible enough to believe anything a legislator says ever) when the "rainy day" fund cap was exceeded by first $550 million -- then $950 million (so they just moved the goal post again, to $1.4 billion) -- Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) says it's unlikely that the Legislature will approve the "hefty" one-time tax break.

Senator "It's-Ours-Now-So-Stuff-It" Rosenberg, it's only "hefty" because you steal more than twice that amount from us taxpayers every year under false pretenses.

Where does all this money go? One place is to Finneran's Favorites. And does this blatant buying of fealty by the Speaker draw shouts of outrage from the "loyal opposition" for using taxpayers' money against them, further tightening Finneran's chokehold on the political process?


Only silence.

Question:  How do you tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans on Beacon Hill?

Answer:  Don't even try, it isn't worth the effort. Finneran was and is the Republicans' choice for Speaker, and they've taken the fealty pay raise blood money too.

As Barbara said in her message last night, the very least we should be able to expect from a loyal opposition party is the truth and a decent fight. What do we get instead?


And celebration.

Stand tall, if alone, Treasurer Joe Malone and Sen. Bob Hedlund. You are the only honest opposition among that crowd the people have to represent us. We appreciate it very much.

Chip Ford --

The Boston Herald
Wednesday, July 22, 1998

Gov foes Cellucci, Harshbarger mum on pols pay raises
By Ellen J. Silberman and Hilary Keriger

Gubernatorial rivals Paul Cellucci and Scott Harshbarger united in one thing yesterday -- silence -- as both refused comment on controversial pay raises doled out to House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran's top lieutenants.

The $19.6 billion fiscal 1999 state budget approved Monday by the Legislature includes $7,500 raises -- retroactive to January 1997 -- retroactive for 10 lawmakers close to Finneran.

Among the recipients are four division floor leaders whose job is to count votes and quiet dissent in the House. The budget also included raises for state judges and for human service workers.

In May, Cellucci, the acting governor, said he didn't want to comment on the legislative raises until he saw the final bill.

"It might not even get to my desk, why cause heartburn if you don't have to?" he asked after the House approved the raises, which government watchdogs have called a waste of cash.

But yesterday Cellucci again refused to comment.

"I'm going to look at every line item and we're going to announce decisions all at the same time," he said.

Harshbarger, the state attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial front-runner, was equally cautious.

"I can't comment on that," Harshbarger said of the legislative raises.

"In general, appropriate salary increases for public employees I think are appropriate. We ask public employees to do very difficult jobs with ver limited resources," he said.

State House News Service
Tuesday, July 21, 1998


SHNS . . . TH . . . JULY 21, 1998 . . . When acting Gov. Paul Cellucci signed the $770 million tax cut today before a dozen television cameras, tax-cutting advocate Barbara Anderson didn't applaud.

While Cellucci basked in the limelight with Democratic legislative leaders, lauding the state's largest-ever tax cut, Anderson stood on the sidelines, fanning herself with some papers.

And as single mother Kelsa Fuller of Auburn told the audience she would savea few hundred dollars each year, Anderson, co-director of Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government, alternately displayed a grimace and a weak smile.

"I wasn't applauding because the tax cut they were celebrating is only part of the $1.2 billion that they owe me and the rest of the taxpayers in this state," said Anderson, who wore a green 1980s-era "Welcome to the Pay State, Taxachusetts" T-shirt to the event.

"The best part of the tax cut was a cut we could get ourselves by voting for it in November," she said, referring to a ballot question reducing taxes on savings. "There really wasn't much for taxpayers like me."

Last fall, Cellucci was one of the first people to sign Anderson's income tax rollback initiative, which subsequently lost a court challenge and won't go before voters.

This afternoon, Cellucci stood next to Senate President Thomas Birmingham and House Speaker Thomas Finneran as he signed a tax cut he called "a victory for working families." The House and Senate passed the cut last week.

"With this historic tax cut, we are ensuring that families in the commonwealth are the beneficiaries of the state's economic good fortune," Cellucci said. "I probably sounded like a broken record (since taking office in August). This is what I've been fighting for."

The tax cut doubles personal exemptions for taxpayers and reduces the rate on savings and investments to 5.95 percent from 12 percent while leaving the income tax rate untouched.

In his first action as governor, Cellucci filed legislation cutting the income tax rate to 5 percent from 5.95 percent over three years. Although he said he preferred that plan, Cellucci called the $770 million cut "a good down payment," and promised to fight for one-time tax cuts funded by the Fiscal 1998 budget surplus.

Immediately following the bill-signing, Cellucci's Republican gubernatorial opponent Treasurer Joseph Malone said the governor wasn't fighting enough. Malone said he would have forced the Legislature to increase its $770 million tax-cut offer.

"I would have vetoed it and (the Legislature) would have had two options," Malone said. "They could have said 'we're overriding the veto' or say 'OK, we're now engaged in a contest of ideas.' We would have created a healthy debate."

Malone and Anderson say the $770 million tax cut conceals an increase in the state stabilization fund, which is currently set at 5 percent of revenues, or $980 million. Last week, legislators increased the cap to 7.5 percent, allowing them to put in several million more that would otherwise head for taxpayers' pockets. The tax cut signed today includes that provision.

While Finneran and Birmingham said filling the fund is only one possibility, Anderson and Malone said raising the cap virtually ensures it will happen. They argue the surplus should be returned in the form of one-time tax cuts, which Finneran and Birmingham said have not yet been ruled out.

The Boston Herald
Wednesday, July 22, 1998

Cellucci will push for more tax cuts
By Ellen J. Silberman

[ . . . ]

Cellucci wants to use $650 million of the state's $1.3 billion surplus for a one-time increase in the personal exemption that would cut $177 off every taxpayer's April 1999 bill.

But Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said Monday that the Legislature was unlikely to approve the hefty one-time tax break Cellucci wants.

Instead, they plan to sock away cash in the state's rainy day fund and spend $50 million on road improvements. In addition, lawmakers plan to use $165 million of the surplus toward the permanent $770 million tax cut.

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