Integrity of the Legislature Under Microscope
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance is calling on Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka to honor the results of the 1986 referendum in which citizens passed a law designed to provide rebates to Massachusetts taxpayers when state revenues exceed the growth in state wages. Since its passage, the law has only been triggered once before, but is now expected to kick in this year as Beacon Hill sits on an unprecedented, multibillion dollar budget surplus. It is speculated that the Speaker and Senate President have not released their Economic Development bill from conference committee and could sneak in language that would gut the 1986 law or could maneuver to spend more taxpayer money to fund the bill instead of using existing language for bonding, which would result in less potential money rebated to the taxpayers. Under both scenarios, it’s plausible for Governor Charlie Baker to veto the legislature’s poison pill or reworked spending source.
“This law was designed to protect taxpayers when situations exactly like this arise. Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka should not alter or water down this law through deceptive last minute insider tactics to make sure they don’t lose control of taxpayer dollars. If they do, their integrity will be forever damaged and the Governor should use his veto without hesitation. If the Speaker and Senate President did this at the last minute, they would be stealing money that didn’t belong to them, it would be tantamount to corruption. Taxpayers deserve this rebate and will certainly spend their hard-earned tax dollars better than the so called “budget experts” on Beacon Hill who are so knowledgeable in their field that they didn’t even seem to be aware of the law,” said Paul D. Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
“The fact that we’re even having this conversation right now speaks to the absolute hypocrisy of Beacon Hill politicians. With one hand, Beacon Hill politicians are trying to push Massachusetts residents to pass a deceptive 80% tax hike amendment to fund their pet projects, while with the other they’re considering undermining the will of a previous ballot question that would actually benefit Massachusetts families. It’s the height of hypocrisy,” continued Craney. “This potential last minute deceptive tactic is what you would expect from a third world dictator. If it happens at our State House, it should not be tolerated.”
Initial estimates have placed the over-collection at more than $2.5 Billion dollars, which would mean substantial rebates for Massachusetts taxpayers.
“It’s a true testament to the legacy of Barbara Anderson and Citizens for Limited Taxation that Beacon Hill bosses are trying to scheme a way to dismantle yet another taxpayer protection measure clearly passed. The Speaker and Senate President MUST honor the will of the people and return this over-collection to the hard-working taxpayers,” concluded Craney.