Limited Taxation
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CLT Update
Wednesday, April 21, 1999

The pressure is mounting as the Legislature's budget debate approaches. The call "Give us back our money!" is coming from more and more quarters of the Commonwealth.

CLT has a surprise call-to-arms coming up next week that will reach out across Massachusetts. We think it's going to get lots of attention and you're really going to like it! Stay tuned for more details as its launch date draws closer.

Chip Ford --

The Lawrence Eagle Tribune
Saturday, April 17, 1999

Keep the heat on Beacon Hill


Pressure is building on Beacon Hill lawmakers to roll state
income taxes back to 5 percent.


Good news. They must be forced to keep their promise.

Good news: Beacon Hill politicians are feeling the heat to keep their promise. On Thursday, House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran unveiled a plan to trim the state income tax from 5.95 to 5.75 percent. That doesn't take the state back to 5 percent, but it's a start.

Nine years ago, when lawmakers hiked taxes, they promised to reduce them to 5 percent as soon as the state's financial crisis was over. The crisis ended long ago, and Massachusetts government is swimming in surplus revenue, yet -- surprise, surprise -- the politicians won't give the public its money back.

Enter Gov. A. Paul Cellucci.

Gov. Cellucci, a Republican, threatened to put the question of rolling back taxes on the ballot next year. It does not take Nostradamus to predict how the voters would react if they got such a chance.

So Speaker Finneran, a Democrat, decided to give the taxpayers at least something back.

Unfortunately, Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham, another Democrat, is still balking.

The echoes of Speaker Finneran's press conference had barely subsided when Sen. Birmingham announced the Senate will not cut taxes this year.

Sen. Birmingham said he hears no public support for what he calls an "irresponsible" tax cut.

"I hear about education. I hear about work force training. I hear about health care. I hear about public safety," Sen. Birmingham said.

He may not have spoken to struggling families in the Merrimack Valley, but we have. We would be happy to convey their message: Keep your promise and roll back the taxes.

Politicians are forever demanding more money. But heavy tax burdens do not automatically translate to quality schools, health care and public safety.

States with lower taxes, in fact, are the ones attracting new business, fueling their economies and dramatically increasing tax revenue. Massachusetts itself was able to enjoy the benefits of the booming '90s by reducing its tax burden. To keep the economy humming, and revenues flowing, it is crucial that Massachusetts position itself as a place where people can live without being taxed to death.

It is important, too, that politicians keep their word.

Gov. Cellucci is vowing to make that happen. When he heard what Sen. Birmingham had to say, he promised to lead the charge for a ballot question.

"I'm not in a negotiating mood," he said.

To which, we say: Good!

The Boston Herald
Saturday, April 17, 1999
A Boston Herald editorial

Yes, we do want tax cuts

Tax cuts? asks Tom Birmingham. What tax cuts? He says he hears no demands for tax cuts, but plenty of demands for government programs.

The governor's goal of a $1.4 billion income tax cut through a multiyear rollback of the rate to 5 percent, said the Massachusetts Senate president in restating his opposition to any major tax cut, is "fiscally the same" in an economic downturn as building that much spending into the budget.

What nonsense. There's a world of political difference.

Our lawmakers have shown over and over that they can and will raise taxes much more readily than they will ever cut spending.

House Speaker Tom Finneran, though he does not accept the proposition that raising the income tax rate to 5.95 percent was supposed to be temporary and does not support Gov. Paul Cellucci's complete rollback, fully realizes the virtues of tax cuts, not the least of which is forcing the state to be frugal. So he would cut the rate to 5.75 percent and leave open the possiblity of future reductions.

We're with the governor on this one, but between the speaker and the Senate president we line up behind Finneran. He knows whose money he's spending. Birmingham appears to think it belongs to the political establishment on Beacon Hill.

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