Limited Taxation
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CLT Update
Monday, May 10, 1999

Today's Boston Herald editorial, below, speaks for itself and echoes my observations of the past Friday.

Below that you'll find another observation by the Herald, published in its Sunday edition that's too delicious for additional comment. They call it "Bait and switch." I'd call it The Best Flock of Brown-nose Sheep Money Can Buy!

They must pray daily that nobody in leadership suddenly stops short and causes a damaging pile-up behind!

Chip Ford --

PS.  Reservations are still available for CLT's 25th Anniversary Banquet. This year's Warren T. Brookes Award will be presented to Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby and WLVI TV-56 political commentator Jon Keller (for their columns of last June that almost singlehandedly kept CLT alive a little longer), but you must act right now!

For your ticket, call Chip Faulkner IMMEDIATELY at (508) 384-0100.

The admission price is:

$50.00 per activist
$500.00 per sponsor
$5,000.00 per table

When:  Thursday, May 20, 1999; 6:00 PM Reception 7:00 PM Banquet

Where:  Lombardo's -- Randolph, Massachusetts

For your ticket, call Chip Faulkner IMMEDIATELY at (508) 384-0100.

The Boston Herald
Monday, May 10, 1999

House tax "cut" is bad economics
A Boston Herald editorial

Yes, we know what we've always said about there being no such thing as a bad tax cut. Well, the Massachusetts House has proven that's just not so.

Of course, part of the so-called cut approved by the House at the end of last week isn't a cut at all. It's a tax increase. The House proposed to fund the lion's share of its so-called tax cut (at least $93 million of a $160 million cut) by increasing the tax on long-term capital gains.

Not only is this the most economically stupid move ever attempted on the House floor, it's also an unabashed attempt at income redistribution. (And we naively thought only the state Senate engaged in that kind of class warfare!)

Under current state tax laws, the rate on capital gains declines gradually from 6 percent to zero, depending on how long the asset is held. The zero rate applies to assets held six years or more -- just the kind of long-term investment that families saving for a child's college education or older citizens saving for retirement would be likely to make. So under the leadership of a couple of real fiscal geniuses -- Reps. John Slattery (D-Peabody) and Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) -- that rate would increase to 2 percent.

And why? To increase, again, the deductions for dependents and for child care. Make no mistake about it, this is the backdoor graduated income tax that time and time again voters have turned down at the polls. The more you increase deductions -- and broaden the categories of those considered "dependents" -- the more progressive you make the tax code. And that is the real agenda.

The only good news here is that the action of the House does indeed reduce to absurdity the arguments of those who insist the state can't afford to cut the income tax rate all the way down to 5 percent.

That a cut in the tax rate would also make the state a more desirable place to do business is apparently lost on those who must have flunked Economics 101.

Boston Sunday Herald
May 9, 1999

Bait and switch

In case anyone was wondering just how much control House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran (D-Mattapan) exercises over his troops, he offered excellent proof during last week's budget debate.

After the Wednesday dinner break, House Minority Leader Francis Marini (R-Hanson) offered an amendment making it a crime for prison guards to have sexual relations with inmates.

After a bit of debate, featuring half-joking questions about the definition of "sexual relations" and the usual reservations about whether the budget should be loaded up with new laws, things didn't look good for Marini. Finneran voted against the amendment and so did his top lieutenants, and the tally board filled with bright red "no" votes.

But then Finneran switched his vote, and so did his lieutenants, setting off a frantic chain reaction. Almost everyone else switched their votes, allowing the amendment to pass easily, 113 to 36.

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