Limited Taxation
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CLT Update
Wednesday, June 30, 1999

Today closes out the state's Fiscal Year 1999. Tomorrow starts FY 2000 and still the conference committee wrangles over how much of our over-taxation they will squander, and how they can avoid giving back any more than is utterly necessary. The conferees are also conspiring how to furtively grab even more, hoping we won't notice, but even if we do, plotting how to separate us from more of our income anyway.

In today's editorial, "Pension sanity," Worcester's Telegram & Gazette notes: "The attempted pension grab by the teachers unions -- under the guise of eliminating burned out educators -- should have been declared dead on arrival when it reached Beacon Hill a few weeks ago. Incredibly, some misguided lawmakers want to extend it to other state workers."

Meanwhile, today's Boston Globe editorial, "Budgeting time," announced: "We favor the Senate's moremodest and targeted tax reductions and its more generous funding of education reform, while we believe that the House is right in wanting to put most of the tobacco settlement money into a permanent trust."

Yesterday's Telegram & Gazette editorial (below) exposes again the Beacon Hill pols' surreptitious hands slipping into our pockets for even more of our hard-earned money.

Don't say later that you weren't warned!

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Chip Ford

Telegram & Gazette
Worcester, MA
Tuesday, June 29, 1999

Highway robbery
Senate plots $100 million Registry money grab

A Telegram & Gazette editorial

Hold on to your wallets, taxpayers, the Massachusetts Senate is hatching another plan to separate you from your money this time an estimated $100 million a year it would extract from motorists by reimposing driver's license and registration fees.

At a time of huge state revenue surpluses -- in spite of spending growth at triple the rate of inflation -- the money grab is inexcusable.

State Sen. Robert A. Havern, D-Arlington, Transportion Committee chairman, says more taxpayers' money is needed to ensure the cost of the Big Dig doesn't dry up funding for local road projects.

Please. The Legislature's much-used "earmarking" dodge has long since worn thin.

Actually, the Registry bonanza simply would disappear into the state's vast, overflowing general fund, to be spent or squandered at the Legislature's whim.

When the Weld-Cellucci administration wiped out the license and registration fees in 1996, it ended the inherently unfair practice of exacting payments for routine renewal of mandated registrations and licenses.

At time when the Senate leadership is touting populist "targeted tax cuts" and other devices calculated to redistribute the wealth -- albeit, generally at the expense of middle class wage earners -- few taxes are as regressive as Registry fees. The greatest burden falls on residents who can afford it the least.

It is unfortunate that legislative leaders are backsliding into the tax-and-spend mind-set of the Massachusetts "miracle" years. When the bubble of unsustainable growth in government programs and taxation bursts, the consequences can be disastrous.

Motorists should rise and oppose this $100 million money grab.

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