A Ballot Committee of Citizens for Limited Taxation




Debt if you do, debt if you don't

October 13, 2000

Contact: Barbara Anderson (508-384-0100) or
              Chip Ford (781-631-6842)

Since the "temporary" tax hike of 1989, the state budget has almost doubled.

Spending has increased at more than double the rate of inflation.

The commonwealth has been spending state surpluses or placing the over-collection of taxes in state savings accounts.

One reason that the state budget was several months late in 1999 was that legislators could not agree on how to spend the commonwealth's share of the $8 billion tobacco settlement windfall.

We don't recall hearing a hue and cry to pay down the debt during this period. Yet opponents of Question 4, looking for any argument to use against it, have suddenly discovered "debt."

During the boom years of the '90's, did opponents of Question 4 file a bill to pay down state debt?

Is there a question on the ballot which will require that the debt be paid early?

If Question 4 does not pass, will we see a major effort on the part of its opponents to pay down debt next year, instead of "investing" (spending) more?

While the national debt includes operating expenses that were bonded by the federal government, state debt is capital debt that should be paid off over many years, not added to the state tax burden (5th highest) of today's taxpayers. In fact, today's commuters who must live with the Big Dig should be exempt from its debt payments while they do their share just dealing with the traffic and downtown chaos!

Using the "temporary" income tax hike of 1989, the commonwealth borrowed, not for new infrastructure projects, but to pay old Medicaid bills. Yes, Shannon O'Brien voted to charge the taxpayers for bills that should have been paid as operating expenses!

And by the way, since she brought up Governor Cellucci's record after the Cellucci-Shannon debate: Governor Cellucci's taxpayer rating with Citizens for Limited Taxation was a perfect 100% for four years, and averaged 96.6% over his legislative career. O'Brien's taxpayer rating averaged 33%. Her concern about taxpayers comes a tad late in her career, and because of her partisan opposition to Question 4 is highly suspect.