Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government
"The Commonwealth Activist Network"
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*** CLT&G Update ***
Tuesday, May 12, 1998

"Lawmakers break their promise"

Greetings activists and supporters;

No, it’s surely not a first. In fact, it’s more often the rule than not. But it’s amazing to watch their wonderment that we don’t trust them and hold them is such low regard.

As "Imperious Maximus" Finneran so cavalierly tossed out in that June, 1997 *Beacon Hill* interview: "Barbara has been around long enough to know statements come and go and language is statutory. I don’t know how someone would attach legitimacy to a comment made in the hall, in a hearing, or even on the House floor."

Finneran told us point blank that day last June that we’re all fools if we believe a word a legislator says; that if we buy into one of their "promises" we only deserve what we get. More of the same. That’s the most honesty you’ll ever get from a politician, and only due to his unrivaled arrogance.

Treasure it.

And let it be a lesson for us all.

Then let them cease their contrived astonishment over our cynicism, disgust, and our utter lack of respect for them.

Chip Ford—

The (Lawrence) Eagle Tribune
Sunday, May 10, 1998

Lawmakers break their promise

The Massachusetts Legislature voted against a measure to roll back the state income tax from 5.95 percent to 5 percent.

The promise the Legislature made in 1989 that the tax hike would be "temporary" is worthless.


It was a simple promise, the one the Massachusetts Legislature made in 1989.

We need help, the Legislature told the people they represent. We want to raise state income taxes from 5 percent to 5.95 percent—a temporary increase—to get us through these hard times and pay off some debt. When things get better, we’ll return the tax rate to its permanent level of 5 percent.

That was the promise.

Last week it was broken.

The House rejected by an overwhelming 118-34 margin a plan to lower the state tax rate from 5.95 percent to 5 percent. Local Republicans voted in favor of the cut. Local Democrats, with the sole exception of Rep. Barry R. Finegold of Andover, voted against it. Rep. Brian S. Dempsey of Haverhill missed the vote but said later he would have cast his ballot for it.

Instead, legislators say there is strong support to cut the tax rate to 5.7 percent. A half-hearted attempt at keeping a promise apparently is good enough for this Legislature.

The full tax cut would have saved the average family of four $600 in state taxes per year. Instead, they may get about $120 per year.

If not now, when will the promise to roll back the tax to 5 percent be fulfilled? It is difficult to imagine better economic times in Massachusetts. Unemployment is low. State coffers are overflowing with an anticipated surplus this year of $600 million. The state’s "rainy day" account has around $1 billion in reserve for possible bad times ahead.

How could things be much better?

Still, legislators who opposed the rollback say it would not be fiscally prudent to cut taxes so quickly. This from the same people who, when they learned there would be a $600 million surplus this year, quickly came up with new ways to spend about half of it.

Prudent? Waving money in front of this Legislature is like handing a can of gasoline to a compulsive arsonist—you know he’ll find some way to use it.

In the past 23 years, the "permanent" tax rate has been in place for just three years, the "temporary" rate for 20. The Legislature has seen fit to make that 21.

The word "temporary" means as much to the Legislature as "promise" does.

Absolutely nothing.

The Boston Globe
Tuesday, May 12, 1998
Letters to the Editor
People want a tax cut

Your May 6 editorial "No question" was off base.

You state "The message that there is no groundswell for radical tax cuts in Massachusetts now."

I collected signatures for the petition to roll back the income tax to 5 percent. Everyone I approached was very enthusiastic about signing. I don’t recall anyone who didn’t want to sign.

My only regret is that I did not spend more time gathering signatures. Another hundred of so would have been easy to get—and I’m certain the people would have voted to repeal the "temporary" tax for good.

(Mr. Wojtkiewicz is a member in good standing of CLT&G—Chip)

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"The only alternative to limited taxation and government is unlimited taxation and government"