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August 1, 2017
The Joint Committee on Revenue
"Summertime and legislators’ livin’ is easy"
I survived another Hell Week after Chip
Faulkner delivered his dead laptop computer on me last
Monday. He'd crashed it again so I had to drop
everything and rebuild it from scratch again for him.
It took my working literally around the clock night and
day — 65 hours of relentless personal "tech
support" — before I had it humming again on Friday, then
could set it to backup while I collapsed in exhaustion.
Do me a favor when you see Chipster.
Remind him that he doesn't use the laptop's "On" button
to shut it down; he uses the "Shut Down/Restart"
function to power it down properly or it'll inevitably crash, again.
Sometimes knowing where the "On" button is just isn't
As I try to catch up from a lost week,
his belated after-action report on his testimony on the
Sales Tax Rollback bill follows.
Director of Operations,
and CLT's IT department
Chip Faulkner's CLT
Summertime and legislators’ livin’ is easy.
It is beginning to become a habit. There I was
again, testifying before the Joint Committee on
Revenue on July 18th for the second time in seven
days and the third time in 42 days. The same place
and same room, B-2 in the State House, was once
again the setting.
Another routine I observed was that very few of
the 17 Revenue Committee members — 11 from the House
and 6 from the Senate — have bothered to show up
during my three appearances. This one, however, set
a new low with just the Senate and House chairmen
and one other state representative present to hear
my testimony. The other 14 members must have been
busy taking their vacations — spending that
additional money they grabbed from us for the
obscene pay hike they gave themselves in January.
Those unappreciated public servants are so
overworked and underpaid that they need to take the
I was there to testify in favor of H.1578 and
S.1650, bills that would restore the state sales tax
to 5%. The sales tax was passed in 2009 when the
state budget was $27 billion. This was intended to
generate some $700-$900 billion to cover a
shortfall. The crisis was caused, of course, by
countless spending sprees by the Legislature. The
annual state budget now — in less than ten years
since the sales tax was increased to 6.25% — has
been increased by $13 billion to the $40 billion
budget just passed!
In my testimony I pointed out: With all this
additional revenue that has poured into the state
treasury in the last several years, it’s time to
roll back the sales tax to 5%. However as CLT
lamented in our news release issued for this hearing:
“… taxpayers are still waiting for the ‘temporary’
income tax hike of 1989 to be fully rolled back to
5%, twenty-eight years after the Legislature made
that false promise.”
The committee was also informed by me of the George
Mason University’s Mercatus Center
fourth annual study of overall fiscal conditions
in the fifty states. It ranked Massachusetts third
from the bottom, ahead of only Illinois and New
Jersey in fiscal management.
I told the committee a personal story about the
sales tax hike. Not long after Massachusetts passed
the increase, I was giving a speech to a group of
conservative activists in New Hampshire. In the
middle of my address I complained about the sales
tax hike. To my surprise (and chagrin) the crowd
stood and applauded! As several told me after the
talk, New Hampshire always welcomes the flood of Bay
State spenders/shoppers after a new Massachusetts
Two final notes: During the time I spent at
the hearing, I didn’t see or hear anyone
testify in favor of the sales tax reduction bills
except CLT. I also didn’t receive any
questions from the shell of a committee. Why
should they exert themselves — it wa, after all,
Citizens for Limited Taxation ▪
PO Box 1147 ▪ Marblehead, MA 01945
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