Limited Taxation
Post Office Box 408     Peabody, Massachusetts   01960     (508) 384-0100
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CLT Update
Thursday, September 2, 1999

Yesterday our initiative petition to roll back the state income tax rate to 5 percent (and keep the promise made by the Legislature in 1989) was approved by Attorney General Reilly. We picked it up from him and hand-delivered it to Secretary of State William Galvin for printing.

We expect to have our blank petition forms in hand by mid-September, and into your hands (if you've volunteered to help us collect enough signatures this time to get it on the 2000 ballot) soon thereafter.

With your help and the help of Gov. Cellucci and the state Republican Party, this time we hope to collect enough signatures to more than withstand -- and even discourage -- further frivolous teachers union challenges ($2 million of its members dues to challenge or signatures last year!) and put keeping the promise on the ballot for voters to decide. There, polls indicate, we will win with over 80 percent of the vote!

CFord-Sig2.gif (4854 bytes)

Chip Ford

PS. If you have not volunteered yet to help us help you keep the Legislature's promise and cut your tax over-payment, you can participate in your own salvation now by clicking here and filling out the volunteer form.

The Union-News
Springfield, Mass.
Thursday, September 2, 1999

Voters: Tax rollback top issue in petitions at the Statehouse
By Nicole LeTourneau

BOSTON -- Efforts to let voters decide a myriad of issues have moved a step closer to the November 2000 ballot, including a cut in the state income tax, a break for motorists on the Massachusetts Turnpike, a new universal health care system and proposals to change the state's drug laws, among others.

Attorney General Thomas Reilly yesterday certified 28 initiative petitions proposing new laws or constitutional amendments on 13 different topics. Multiple versions of several of the petitions were submitted. Five other petitions filed in early August did not pass constitutional muster.

Proponents have until Dec. 1 to collect 57,100 signatures to send the measures to the state Legislature. If lawmakers do not act on the proposals by May 3, another 9,517 signatures collected by July 5 would place the measures on the Nov. 7 election ballot.

The highest-profile petition is a tax rollback being spearheaded by Gov. A. Paul Cellucci. He wants to cut the state's personal income tax from the current 5.95 percent to 5 percent by 2003.

Cellucci expressed confidence yesterday that voters will support the tax cut, which he said was promised by the Legislature 10 years ago when it raised the income tax during a fiscal crisis.

"A promise was made and a promise should be kept, but more importantly this will help families by putting money back in their pockets," Cellucci said.

The tax rate would decline over three years from the current 5.95 percent to 5.6 percent in 2001, 5.3 percent in 2002 and 5 percent in 2003.

Tax cuts are a sticking point in negotiations over the state's fiscal year 2000 budget, which is two months late. The two legislative branches are at odds over $177 million in Senate-sponsored tax cuts versus the House's $450 million relief package. But neither reaches the level of Cellucci's $1.4 billion tax cut.

Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, supported a similar measure last year. It did not pass. She expects it will be a more high-profile issue this year.

"The governor is leading this campaign," Anderson said.

Another tax relief question that may appear on the ballot would create a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit for motorists who pay tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike and tunnels on the state's highways. The $500 million-a-year proposal would also allow taxpayers to claim a tax credit equal to the amount paid on excise taxes.

A state income tax credit and a tax deduction for charitable contributions is also being proposed. ...

State House News Service
Wednesday, September 1, 1999

Tax Cut, Health Care, Marijuana Initiative Drives
to Hit Streets

SEPT. 1, 1999 ... TH ... Statewide voters in 2000 may make decisions about issues ranging from an income tax cut to legalization of marijuana to universal health care after Attorney General Thomas Reilly today advanced ballot questions about those and nine other public policy issues.

As attorney general, Reilly must rule on whether proposed ballot laws are Constitutional.

Reilly also certified a constitutional amendment to strengthen parents' rights. It has a shot at appearing on the 2002 ballot. He rejected four petitions, including ones allowing public aid to private and parochial schools, and repealing adoption reforms passed by the Legislature this spring. The state constitution prohibits efforts tinkering with either the courts or religion.

Gov. Paul Cellucci said he plans to use both his GOP campaign organization and Barbara Anderson's Citizens for Limited Taxation to gather the necessary signatures to put his $1.4 billion income-tax rollback question on the ballot. Irritated by the Legislature's outright rejection of his calls to roll the income tax rate back to 5 percent from 5.95 percent over three years starting in January, the state's chief executive is turning to the public for help.

"The people in the Legislature aren't listening. They're not doing what's right for our families and right for our economy," Cellucci said this afternoon after officially filing his petition with Secretary of State William Galvin. "Despite 28 tax cuts ... we are still the fifth-most taxed state in the county. This is very important for the economic future of our state."

Before any of the approved 13 measures appear on the ballot for popular review, sponsors face weeks of canvassing neighborhoods and shopping centers to collect 57,100 signatures of support from voters. Then if the Legislature doesn't act by May 3, sponsors must collect an additional 9,517 signatures by July 5, 2000 to put the questions on the November ballot. Galvin must print forms that the petition organizers will use to gather signatures; the forms will be ready Sept. 15.

Cellucci said that leaves enough time for legislative leaders to commit to lowering the income tax to 5.75 percent for next year. House Speaker Thomas Finneran and Senate President Thomas Birmingham are currently negotiating the 61-day-late state budget, which includes a House provision to lower the tax rate to 5.75 percent. The Senate has proposed leaving the income tax rate untouched and instead offering new tax breaks to the elderly and the working poor.

"You might as well go to 5.75 because it's going to happen next November anyway," Cellucci told Finneran and Birmingham through reporters. "Maybe that will help the current budget impasse. If they want to compromise between the House version and the Senate version by adopting what we've recommended, that would be great." ...

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