The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, and Citizens for Limited Taxation announced today that they have partnered with the New England Legal Foundation and the Goldwater Institute to prepare to bring suit to enforce Chapter 62F of Massachusetts law, should such action be necessary.
Jon Riches is the lead attorney at the Goldwater Institute and his co-counsel in Massachusetts are Dan Winslow and Ben Robbins of the New England Legal Foundation.
The voters of the Commonwealth enacted Chapter 62F in 1986 to implement hard limits on the amount Massachusetts can tax its residents and on government spending. If revenues exceed legally applicable limits, the state “shall” issue “tax credits equal to the total amount of such excess” to all Massachusetts taxpayers. The revenue growth limit was spearheaded by Citizens for Limited Taxation and the Massachusetts High Technology Council. Chapter 62F permits 24 named taxpayers in the Commonwealth to bring an action in the Supreme Judicial Court or Superior Court to enforce the provisions of that law. The State Auditor must comply by her statutory deadline of September 20 to certify the Department of Revenue’s numbers.
Earlier today, the Goldwater Institute and the New England Legal Foundation sent a letter on behalf of Massachusetts taxpayers to Auditor Suzanne Bump. While we expect the Auditor to continue to comply with the certification requirements, taxpayers have promised to uphold the will of Massachusetts voters by seeking to enforce these critically important and statutorily guaranteed fiscal safeguards, demanding the government follow the law. Should it become clear that Massachusetts officials are seeking to sidestep the plainly laid out requirements of Chapter 62F, taxpayers have promised to uphold the will of Massachusetts voters by seeking to enforce these critically important and statutorily guaranteed fiscal safeguards.
A copy of the letter is available here.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make sure Massachusetts taxpayers get back billions of dollars of their hard-earned money. We will do everything in our power to make sure this happens, and to hold politicians accountable if they try to evade this law,” said Paul Diego Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “Some State House politicians would like nothing more right now than for us to fail to ease their insatiable appetite to spend, but we are committed and prepared to bring them to court if they think they can delay this process for even one minute.”
“In 1986 Citizens for Limited Taxation put forth this ballot question with the recognition that Massachusetts taxpayers would one day need this law to kick into action. That it took this long isn’t a bug but a design feature. I’m proud to partner with CLT’s allies and colleagues to ensure that everything is done to protect the voters’ mandate and help protect taxpayers from an insatiable state government,” added Chip Ford, Executive Director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.
“The tax limit is a prudent fiscal policy safeguard that helps prevent over commitments of extraordinary revenue by the Legislature during periods of strong private sector performance,” said Mass. High Tech Council president Chris Anderson.
“NELF’s mission includes standing for the rule of law,” said Daniel B. Winslow, President of the New England Legal Foundation. “Now, more than ever, we must ensure that citizens and public servants alike respect the rule of law. We are hopeful the Auditor will set an example by upholding her oath of office.”
“Massachusetts voters passed Chapter 62F for a reason: to protect working families and individuals from runaway tax-and-spend practices that lead to financial turmoil,” said Jon Riches, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. “As Americans come to terms with skyrocketing inflation, it’s imperative that the Massachusetts government follow the law. If it refuses to do so, we won’t hesitate to bring necessary action to protect Massachusetts taxpayers.”
"The Beacon Hill Institute applauds the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, and CLT for their ongoing efforts to protect the interests of Massachusetts taxpayers. The intent of Chapter 62F could not be clearer, and there should be no hesitation on the part of our leaders to return to the taxpayers monies that are rightfully owed them. With nearly unprecedented revenue growth over the last two years, we hope that the Legislature uses this law as an opportunity to impose some much-needed discipline on its spending habits, rather than play games in an attempt to sidestep the will of the people. We hope that legal action will ultimately not be necessary, but we appreciate and support NELF and the Goldwater Institute for standing ready to hold our elected officials accountable, " stated Professor Emeritus David Tuerck, President of the Beacon Hill Institute.
“This return of taxpayer money will become seed money for job growth and self-employment,” said Mike Hruby, President of New Jobs for Massachusetts. “Many will pay down household debt with it, some will invest it, and the most determined will use it to start a new business with a flexible schedule and greater income potential. Returning taxpayer money will benefit every resident.”
“As advocates for our local Belmont taxpayers, we support the effort to uphold Chapter 62F of Massachusetts law as it applies to Massachusetts taxpayers. Citizens for a Fiscally Responsible Belmont protects and advocates for Belmont’s taxpayers. We are proud to lend our names and support to this effort should there be resistance to enforcing that law and to returning hard-earned money to Massachusetts taxpayers,” stated Dawn MacKerron, President of Citizens for a Fiscally Responsible Belmont.