CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Thursday, May 20. 2004

Agreed: time for treacherous RINOs to "move on"


Conservative groups are outraged that Senate Republicans have retreated, at least for now, from their bid to roll back the state's income tax rate, with one prominent antitax group calling for the ouster of the Senate's top Republican....

As the Senate began debate on its fiscal 2005 budget yesterday, Senator Brian P. Lees, the minority leader, withdrew an amendment backed by Governor Mitt Romney that would cut the income tax rate from 5.3 percent to 5 percent. Lees said yesterday the timing wasn't right, and pledged to propose the cut again sometime soon. But Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation accused the Republicans of betraying Romney so that they "can keep their cushy jobs and serve their Democrat masters and get their salaries."

"The strategy is to protect themselves and their Democratic friends at the expense of the voters," said Anderson, adding that she hopes GOP lawmakers remove Lees as leader next year.

Ian Bayne of MassReform echoed Anderson's anger, pledging to "take action to expose them to their campaign donors and Republican voters."

The Boston Globe
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Senate Republicans hit for retreat on tax cut


Sen. Lees said I want to make a brief statement and I would ask all of you to pay attention....

It is insulting that some people, that are quite frankly at the point in their career when they should move on. There are quotes today that were just out and out lies....

Sen. Murray requested unanimous consent to make a statement....

So there it is Barbara. We got one month of good money and we want to turn it around and spend it all over the place. Letís be real here.

State House News Service
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Senate Session


Conservative Republican group MassReform, and its president Republican activist Ian Bayne is urging Republican lawmakers to reverse a recent decision to halt an amendment that would roll the personal Income tax back to 5%.

Bayne promised retaliation to Republicans who decided against the measure, or against voting for the rollback, and said that they well be subject to scrutiny from Republicans.

"If Republican Members decide against keeping the promise to roll back our income tax rate, then I will take action to expose them to their campaign donors and Republican voters," said Bayne, a former candidate for chairman of the state GOP.

MASSREFORM
The Voice of Conservative Republicans in Massachusetts
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
GOP group warns Republican lawmakers of battle


Barbara Anderson's guest CLT Commentary

Greetings activists and supporters:

We usually have so much information to send you that we donít want to overwhelm readers with insider stuff analyzing the ďwhyĒ as well as giving them the "what." But Iíve found when we're out and about that many people like the stories, so this seems to be a good time to talk about what REALLY goes on behind the scenes. I hope you will find it as fascinating as we always have.

Most people reading todayís Boston Globe story would rationally interpret it as: Taxpayer activists are really angry because the rollback amendment was withdrawn by Senate minority leader Brian Lees, seeing it as a betrayal of the Governor and the issue -- but itís really just a dispute about the strategy of getting a vote on the rollback and the Governor understands this.

Reporters of course have to do it this way; they are reporting just the facts and the positions stated by both sides. We followed it all the way through Senator Lees speech as reported by the State House News Service. Now, here is the inside story for you.

Governor Romney decided last month that it is time to unfreeze the rollback. We were pleasantly surprised, because he has told us in the past that he was looking at 2006 for that event and we were focused on avoiding a rate HIKE to 5.6 or 5.95 percent, while planning to file our own rollback bill this November for next year. Naturally we jumped right on his ďdo it nowĒ bandwagon.

When we asked about strategy, the Governorís office told us the first thing would be to put it into the Senate budget debate as an amendment. CLT got ready for that debate; I wrote a column about it last week and we began preparing the memo supporting the rollback, that you have seen. But late last week we heard from a State House contact that the Senate Republicans were balking at filing the Governorís amendment. We alerted the administration, which thanked us for our "heads up" and dealt with it; the amendment was one of the last ones filed before the Friday deadline (#777). Thinking we were all set, we sent the memo to the State House on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday afternoon, I received an e-mail from Eric Fehrnstrom in the Governorís office that Senator Lees had withdrawn the amendment.

We spent the rest of the day and evening trying to find out why, and alerting CLT activists. The reason, we heard from more than one source, was that Ways & Means Chairman Therese Murray was "very upset" that the amendment would be offered. This made sense to us; she has a Republican opponent this year and while Iím sure she would have no problem voting against a tax cut, the rollback is a very different issue that touches on "keeping the promise" and following the will of the voters -- exactly why it is such a strong issue for the Governor and all his legislative candidates. It took us a little longer to grasp why the minority leader would care if she was upset, but then we learned -- from more than one source -- that she was upset enough to threaten Republican amendments. If you go to the Senate section at www.state.ma.us, you can see their amendments and decide for yourself if you think they would have a chance of passing anyhow, or would be better for the Commonwealth than the rollback would.

This is where it gets hazy, so follow closely. By now we are hearing the statements about Murray from people who are on defense, so I'm not sure if she was really that upset, or if she was being used as an excuse by some Republican senators who, for reasons of their own, do not want to be spotted on an income tax rollback roll call. 

We were told that the Governor asked Lees not to withdraw the amendment until he had talked with Murray, and that Lees withdrew it anyhow. Then the rationale started coming in as a response to your emails and phone calls -- some of which you read in our news release. Hereís another from Senator Knapik, sent to us by a helpful activist this morning.

"The Governor is well aware that the tax rollback question will be taken up with the expected roll call vote during the debate on the Fy 2004 Supplemental budget. As you know I am a sponsor of the amendment and will vote for its passage. I wish folks would check with their legislators as to how the strategies unfold vs. following newspapers and radio or other organizations that don't have the courtesy to work with us. Just a frustration from a legislator who has supported and/or helped author every tax cut enacted since 1991."

You will note that we were trying very hard to "workĒ with them. The Governor was right there in their building, apparently taking for granted that they would do as he requested. I called Sen. Lees office myself when it looked as if things were falling apart; by the time he withdrew the amendment, the only response our callers got was that "it was too late to do anything." The other excuses evolved later.

The Governor's first move on the rollback was the Senate debate because there was no guarantee that the FY 2004 supplemental budget would be taken up before the election if it contained an issue that would make the Democrat leadership uncomfortable. We think that now that people are watching, it will be taken up in late June or July. We also think that there would not have been a roll call when the Democrats amended the supplemental to remove the rollback language; now we think that there will, because alerted Republican activists will insist that Republican Senators demand one.

However, it would take only one Republicanís absence to put that in jeopardy, though we can probably count on at least one Democrat, Guy Glodis, to still support the rollback.

In his statement [that you'll read below], Sen. Lees suggests that I am at the point in my career that I should move on. This has been the wish of other Republican leaders before him, but thatís another story for another day. Like any other politicians, Republicans once elected can get wrapped up in their insider status and forget the reasons our founding fathers created a two-party system in the first place. CLT, over the years, does its part to remind them.

You will note that Governor Romney seems happy with the result. He gets to be "good cop," and we ... do what we do. Thanks for your e-mails and phone calls: I think we are moving forward on the rollback now. And thanks to Ian Bayne for his back-up.

Barbara Anderson


The Boston Globe
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Senate Republicans hit for retreat on tax cut
By Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff


Conservative groups are outraged that Senate Republicans have retreated, at least for now, from their bid to roll back the state's income tax rate, with one prominent antitax group calling for the ouster of the Senate's top Republican.

As the Senate began debate on its fiscal 2005 budget yesterday, Senator Brian P. Lees, the minority leader, withdrew an amendment backed by Governor Mitt Romney that would cut the income tax rate from 5.3 percent to 5 percent. Lees said yesterday the timing wasn't right, and pledged to propose the cut again sometime soon. But Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation accused the Republicans of betraying Romney so that they "can keep their cushy jobs and serve their Democrat masters and get their salaries."

"The strategy is to protect themselves and their Democratic friends at the expense of the voters," said Anderson, adding that she hopes GOP lawmakers remove Lees as leader next year.

Ian Bayne of MassReform echoed Anderson's anger, pledging to "take action to expose them to their campaign donors and Republican voters."

In 2000, voters approved a gradual lowering of the income tax rate, which was 5.85 percent at the time, to 5 percent. But in the depths of the state's fiscal crisis in 2002, the Legislature froze the rate at the current 5.3 percent. This month, Romney pointed to surprisingly robust April tax revenues in calling on the Legislature to follow through with the tax cut.

A rollback to 5 percent translates into a tax cut of $225 million in fiscal 2005, or about $100 per taxpayer. But lowering the rate would reduce revenue by about $450 million in fiscal 2006, when it would be in effect for the entire year. Tax increases must take effect at the beginning of the calendar year in January, while the fiscal year begins in July.

Democratic leaders have expressed opposition to the tax cut, saying the state's fiscal problems are not over. Anderson said she realizes the proposal's prospects are dim this year, but she believes a recorded vote on the issue will help GOP candidates in November.

Romney spokeswoman Shawn Feddeman said that the administration defers to GOP legislators on matters of legislative strategy and that the tax cut remains a top priority for the governor.

Return to top


State House News Service
Senate Session - Wednesday, May 19, 2004

[ ... ]

Travaglini said I would like to ask the senators to take their seats for the minority leader to make a brief statement.

Sen. Lees said I want to make a brief statement and I would ask all of you to pay attention.

Several of you have asked me about this issue. There has been a question by many of you as to whether weíre going to have an income tax debate. We filed an amendment to roll back the income tax rate and have subsequently moved to withdraw that amendment. There are other vehicles to have a discussion on taxes.

Most of us in the Republican Party feel very strongly about rolling back the tax rate. I want everyone in here to realize that we have decided to have a tax debate down the road. The president agrees with me. Thereís all kind of vehicles still coming, including a supplemental budget. We have included several increases for the governorís reform package and we felt that this discussion was important enough and we will bring up some time down the road.

Because we did this, we were asked if we tried to cut some deal, whether Iím in the tank with the chair of ways and means.

I want to make everyone aware that first of all itís important to me. I have consistently brought forward tax cuts and weíre going to continue bringing them forward. No one is more committed to lowering the income tax level more than me.

But to insult me, or the chair of ways and means, is out of the question. There are many vehicles coming up to deal with this.

It is insulting that some people, that are quite frankly at the point in their career when they should move on. There are quotes today that were just out and out lies.

People love to make things up to make us look bad. I like talk radio, I listen to talk radio and Howie Carr. But when people make things up I think we ought to make note of that.

We will be offering amendments in other vehicles. I do get sad when people make things up and I do get sad when people insult us. Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words. I look forward to working with the chair of way and means. When sheís wrong Iím going to point it out and when sheís right Iím going to support her, but there are no deals here.

Sen. Murray requested unanimous consent to make a statement. There was no objection.

She said I canít even swim so I donít have a tank. I did see this funny thing on a web site from Barbara and the Chips. The bottom of it says the minority party is cutting deals with the ways and means chair.

Well let me be clear, if that amendment had been put to a roll call, I would have voted no.

So there it is Barbara. We got one month of good money and we want to turn it around and spend it all over the place. Letís be real here. We have seniors with rising property taxes, we have children who canít afford to go to school. If weíre going to spending money, we have to look at them first. I donít care if Iím being trashed on the talk shows. This is my answer - Iím going on the record. Iím voting against it.

RECESS:  The Senate recessed at 10:40 pm to return on Thursday at 11 am in a formal session.

Return to top


MASSREFORM
The Voice of Conservative Republicans in Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ian Bayne, (508) 661-3016; cell 617-438-1944

GOP group warns Republican lawmakers of battle
if no action is taken to roll back taxes


(NATICK, MA - May 19, 2004) Conservative Republican group MassReform, and its president Republican activist Ian Bayne is urging Republican lawmakers to reverse a recent decision to halt an amendment that would roll the personal Income tax back to 5%.

Bayne promised retaliation to Republicans who decided against the measure, or against voting for the rollback, and said that they well be subject to scrutiny from Republicans.

"If Republican Members decide against keeping the promise to roll back our income tax rate, then I will take action to expose them to their campaign donors and Republican voters," said Bayne, a former candidate for chairman of the state GOP.

Bayne said this could come in the form of mailings to campaigns donors and constituents of members.

In addition, Bayne said that telephone blasts like the kind that he utilized in the successful gubernatorial draft effort of now Governor Mitt Romney will also be used.

"Republican lawmakers will not continue to hide their un-Republican activities from their own party," added Bayne. "Not this year,"

Republican Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees withdrew an amendment today that would have rolled back the income tax rate.

Ian Bayne, 30, led the 2002 Republican revolt "EnlistMitt.com" that led to Mitt Romney's gubernatorial success, and was chairman of the 1,000 member Massachusetts Republican Society. Bayne ran for state GOP chairman in 2001 receiving 27% of the vote.

Return to top


NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


Return to CLT Updates page

Return to CLT home page