Limited Taxation
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CLT Update
Friday, December 17, 1999


After reading WBZ-TV news anchor Jack Williams' column in last week's Boston Herald, I decided I wouldn't bore you and waste your time sending it along because it was ... well ... just plain stupid drivel. But it got the attention of a few taxpayers who simply couldn't resist responding with letters to the editor, like our own Barbara Anderson. So for those of you who missed it, here it belatedly is in all of it's dubious glory, followed by the responses.

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Chip Ford

The Boston Herald
Friday, December 10, 1999

Let's ax tax-cut proposals
by Jack Williams

There's likely no better evidence of the strength of our economy these days than the sight of people scrambling to spend their money in that most rarified atmosphere, the annual Christmas Stroll on Nantucket.

People were so eager to spend their money that they were willing to be herded like cattle on any available ferry and sit on the floor for the two-hour trip just to get to this distant shopping mecca.

Once on the island, people consider it a privilege to be allowed to dine in restaurants that charge $100 a person for dinner. Could there be more compelling proof that a segment of the population is feeling ever more prosperous, buoyed by a surging stock market and a steady rise in the value of their homes?

So why, in the midst of good times, are we suddenly facing a resurgence of plans to reduce taxes? If there ever is a time to build roads, repair bridges and help the needy, it is when a sizeable number of workers are doing better than they thought possible.

It makes you wonder what Republican presidential contender George W. Bush was thinking last week when he proposed a tax cut that would cost more than $1 trillion over the next decade. The main beneficiaries would be those same people who were bumping into each other in the stores of Nantucket. But I didn't hear any grumbling about the taxman from these revelers.

After all, they've prospered even after President Clinton raised the income tax rate on the very wealthy to 39.6 percent. This created budget surpluses and set the stage for one of history's greatest economic booms. Ignoring this, Bush's proposal would give the top 10 percent of the population more than 60 percent of the cuts. He wants to reduce the two top rates to 33 percent. All of this at a time when the gap separating the richest and poorest is growing.

Gov. Paul Cellucci, ignoring the fact that GOP congressional leaders failed to ignite interest in a national tax cut, is doggedly going ahead with a plan to reduce the state income tax. But voters here are demanding a better education for their children, not a $600-a-year savings that would decimate services to the most needy.

Here's another harebrained proposal: A ballot question, authored by anti-toll activists, that would give a full rebate for all toll and auto excise tax payments (two of our most hated taxes). I  this initiative passes, the cost to the state's general fund would be between $550 million and $1 billion a year (depending on whose figures you believe -- the Commuter Tax Relief Coalition or the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts).

According to a Herald story by Laura Brown, this new wrinkle on the failed Free the Pike initiative would let taxpayers directly deduct the amount they paid in auto excise and tolls fro  their year-end tax bill. Commuter tax relief campaign manager Harold Hubschman says the ballot question may pass because of voters' anger over four different taxes they pay just to drive their cars. But auto excise tax revenues go to local communities and if they were reduced the only alternative would be higher property taxes.

In spite of the rhetoric, taxes will not go away. They've been around since mankind starting living in communities. Nobody wants to pay more taxes. However, what has to be weighed is the price we will pay for tax cuts. If the chasm between rich and poor continues to grow, there is a real danger offuture social unrest, precipitated by unaffordable health care,expensive housing and more cuts in workers' benefits.

This next year, we will have several opportunities in the voting booth to let politicians know that appealing to greed is not a guarantee of success.

Jack Williams is an anchor for WBZ-TV.

The Boston Herald
Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Jack's plate empty

So Jack Williams has decided, based upon the number of his peers who can afford to pay $100 for a meal at Nantucket restaurants, that those of us who eat out at Papa Gino's don't need a tax cut either and would be greedy to vote for one.

How about all the diners just insisting that the Legislature keep its promise that the 1989 tax hike would be temporary, in order to encourage it not to lie to us again? Then those who don't need the money for their own families can give it to a charity of their choice, instead of letting Tom Birmingham and Tom Finneran spend it for them.

Barbara Anderson
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Ax Jack's audacity

I was amazed at Jack William' audacity equating advocacy for tax cut proposals with greed. He finds himself on a Christmas shopping spree to Nantucket and concludes that (1) the economy is booming, (2) eating a $100 meal is a privilege and (3) those folks did not grumble about taxes. So what?

News is your business, Jack, and I have some for you: (1) There have always been people with disposable income. (2) Some restaurants do not cost more but all provide jobs. (3) Why would folks on a shopping trip discuss taxes?

Jack suggests that this is not the time to cut taxes, with so many unmet needs, yet describes how we have a surplus thanks to big government extracting over 30 percent of our paychecks.

Bradford E. White

Thursday, December 16, 1999

Cut down Williams

Liberals such as Jack Williams like to label themselves as being tolerant, but the evidence proves otherwise. Witness the silly name-calling Jack engages in when voters dare to initiate a drive to reduce their tax burden.

Yes, Jack, I guess it is "harebrained" for the voters to ask politicians to keep their promises.

To leftists like Jack, people who work for a living and want to keep more of what they earn are "greedy." What liberals like Jack cannot seem to grasp is that self-interest is the primary human motivator. You have got to be able to care for yourself before you can take care of others.

If, according to the liberals, we cannot lower the tax burden during an economic boom, would these same liberals then support a tax break during an economic recession? The bottom line is that liberals are for never giving tax cuts to the public.

Jerry Gentile

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