SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

January 23, 2013

Anderson: Won't get fooled again

Message to Beacon Hill: What part of 5 percent don’t you understand?

Income tax rate history lesson. In 1989, Michael Dukakis increased the rate from its traditional 5 percent to 5.75 percent. The only way he and Democratic legislative leaders could get even many Democrats to vote for it was to promise that the new rate was “temporary.” And sure enough, it was: The next year, they increased it to 6.25 percent.

They said this was temporary, too, and tried to assuage voter outrage over the earlier lie with a requirement that the rate drop automatically in 1992 to 5.95 percent. Not believing them, taxpayer activists, including me, put a question on the 1990 ballot to repeal the entire Dukakis package, which included, along with the income tax increase, an expansion of the sales tax to services and an increase in the state gas tax for “transportation needs.” Opponents said the repeal “goes too far,” and voters rejected it; maybe they thought the gas tax increase was actually going to be spent on roads and bridges.

But using the same ballot, still-angry voters threw out a bunch of the perps, electing a Republican governor who ran on repealing the Dukakis taxes, and 14 new Republican legislators.

Almost tempts one to choose this message to legislators as they consider the Patrick tax hikes: Go ahead, make my day. No Democrat was elected governor for the next 16 years.

In 1992, when liberals tried to keep the income tax rate at 6.25 percent, Gov. William Weld threatened a veto and had enough taxpayer-friendly legislators to sustain it, so the rate dropped to 5.95 percent. In 2000, Gov. Paul Cellucci helped lead another ballot campaign to roll back the rate to 5 percent; this one passed easily. In 2002, the Legislature froze the rate at 5.3 percent over Gov. Jane Swift’s veto. Gov. Mitt Romney filed a bill every year to “defrost” it. Democrats continued to thumb their noses at voters, who still elected Deval Patrick governor in 2006. He argued that instead of the income tax rate cut, taxpayers would rather have property tax relief.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium