Every tax is a pay cut. Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation
|Will of voters has no weight||Thursday, April 24, 2003|
|Jack Prindiville||Metrowest Daily News|
MetroWest Daily News reports that area legislators are seriously considering
income tax hikes.
State Rep. Debra Blumer says, according to the article, that many of her constituents have contacted her in recent weeks to express support for hiking fees and taxes. (As a friend of mine commented wryly, "What kind of a person writes his legislator asking for higher taxes? No normal, sane person would do such a thing.") Rather the writers are special interest advocates for social service and other programs who are fighting tooth and nail to undermine Governor Romney's valiant reform efforts to bring fiscal sanity to this state.
What Rep. Blumer does not say is that the overwhelming majority of her constituents and others across Massachusetts voted in 2000 in two referenda to gradually reduce the state income tax to 5 percent and to allow deductions for charitable contributions. Rep. Blumer and other legislators chose to completely ignore voter intent by freezing the tax reduction at 5.3 percent and repealing deductions for charitable contributions. To make matters worse they hiked taxes over a billion dollars. Last year Framingham voted decisively for Gov. Romney who ran on a reform and hold-the-line-on-taxes platform. Also, 46 percent of the electorate voted to get rid of the Massachusetts income tax. The electorate's message in the 2002 election was loud and clear for anyone who wanted to listen; drastically overhaul the state's way of doing business and under no circumstances hike taxes.
Why is it that area legislators just don't get it? Simple, Framingham's incumbent senator and two state representatives had no Republican opposition in last year's election. Two of them had token opposition from the Libertarian Party. As MetroWest Daily News reported earlier, most legislative races throughout the Commonwealth last year were uncontested by Republicans. As a consequence, incumbent legislators have no incentive to pay attention to the expressed wishes by their constituents. They are free to do whatever they want, and the public can be ignored.
The mirror image of his situation existed in the 1940s. Republicans dominated Beacon Hill, and in most districts had no Democrat opposition. Tip O'Neill changed that situation in 1948 by mounting a successful campaign to field as many candidates as possible in traditionally uncontested Republican constituencies. The Democrats gained control of the legislature, Tip became Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representative, and the rest is history. It shows it can be done.
Democracy must be restored on Beacon Hill. The only way this can happen is if candidates from both of our major parties contest as many legislative races as possible. Only then will legislators begin to listen to voter intent. The challenge is clearly before us.
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