2008 Massachusetts Ballot Initiative
("Question 1") to End the Income Tax
Current campaigns and projects
Frequently Asked Questions
* Will Question 1 affect property taxes?
How can we cut $12.6 billion in waste?
do the retirement Govt. and private companies compare?
What are some of the other Mass taxes?
is Question 1?
* Which states do not have an
* How much $ will go back into my
* Does Q1 go far enough?
Who’s behind the No vote?
* Can we see the
state government budget?
* Shouldn't we try
* What is the real
Will Question 1 affect property
Groups that oppose Question 1 say that ending the income
tax will raise property taxes. Is that true?
No. Question 1
forces the legislature to cut state spending, not city or town government
If anything, we should cut other taxes as well as ending the
income tax -- to get rid of all government waste.
The state government hands
out $5 billion in subsidies to city and town governments in Massachusetts every
As of fiscal year 2009, you and 3,400,000 other taxpayers pay $12.6
billion in income taxes to the state government every year.
words, for every dollar you pay, your town gets back 40 cents. Does that sound
like a bargain to you?
Let's assume Question 1 wins, we end the income
tax, and the very worst "doom and gloom" scenario our opponents like to paint
came to pass: the legislature cuts 100% of state aid to city and town
governments. You would no longer pay $1.00 to get just 40 cents in return. You'd
be 60 cents ahead of where you are now.
But that’s not all.
40 cents the state hands out to city and town governments doesn’t go to you. It
goes to the politicians in your town – and their special interest pals.
That 40 cents pays for things like extravagant and unnecessary building
contractors and architects like the ones charging taxpayers $200 million to
build a high school in Newton, Massachusetts. They paid $35 million of that to a
fancy architectural firm for the school's design – enough to build an entire
That 40 cent on your dollar pays for lucrative government
employee pensions and generous government employee health care benefits – far
better than what you get from your employer.
If you're an average
taxpayer, how much of that 40 cents benefits your family? For every dollar you
pay in income tax, you may get back 25 cents or 10 cents or 5 cents in benefits.
But it gets worse.
That 40 cents of every dollar you pay in income tax
that the state hands out to city and town governments is not evenly distributed.
Many town governments see only a fraction of that 40 cents. The bulk of it goes
to big city governments – home to the state’s worst corruption, crime and
dysfunctional public schools. A lot of that 40 cents pays for the worst schools
in the state – at a rate that’s often TWICE as expensive as what small and
medium size towns pay per pupil for better schools!
Who profits most from
state aid to city and town governments?
The same people who oppose
Question 1, who oppose this $3,700 tax cut for you and your family. Government
employee unions. Builders who get government contracts.
You can vote No
on 1, continue to pay an average of $3,700 every year in income taxes and get
back perhaps $185 to $985 in benefits. A net loss of $3,515 to $2,715 every
Or you can vote YES, get back $3,700 on average you're now paying
in income taxes, and get back perhaps $0 to $985 in benefits. A net gain of
$3,700 to $4,685 every year.
Which is better for you, your family, and
How can we cut $12.6 billion
Where will we find $12.6 billion in waste to cut from
Our current budget minus the income tax equals
the 1999 state budget.
Here are a few examples of waste we can get rid
· $7 billion in refinancing cost for the Big Dig.
· $2.55 billion
MORE added this year to the lucrative pensions for retired stategovernment
employees - who get 2-3 times the retirement income you'll get if you're an
average taxpayer. Government employees retire in their 40's 50's and early 60's
- while you have to work until your late 60s.
· $1 billion in tax
subsidies to multi-billion dollar bio-tech pharmaceutical corporations.
$2 billion in interest payments every year for unnecessary debt spending to fund
road projects. Pay for roads with gasoline tax and auto registration fees, and
there is no need to rack up debt. Liquidate some of the state's many financial
slush funds to pay down debt and reduce interest payments.
million tax subsidy to millionaire movie stars and directors.
billion dollars/year in excess government employee health care benefits. Bring
their copays, deductibles and coverage in line with the average taxpayer.
· $60,000 to $70,000 a year paid to toll collectors - plus benefits, plus
pensions. This is for UNSKILLED jobs – counting and making change. A job that
can be done by public schools 5th graders, high school dropouts, people trying
to get off welfare, or even mentally challenged individuals who want to be
contributing members of society.
· Several hundred million dollars every year
spent on unnecessary and overpriced public school construction. Example: $200
million high school in Newton, Massachusetts. A large fraction funded out of the
state government budget.
· Over $6 billion we could cut from the budget
and give back to taxpayers by renegotiating the terms and money of government
pensions for state government employees, city and town government employees, and
public school teachers.
But that’s just the tip of the garbage heap. If
the Massachusetts legislature will "Show Us the Tax Money" - open the
Massachusetts state government books - as we requested in our 2/8/08 open letter
to the state legislature, 3,400,000 taxpayers can be watchdogs to identify and
remove the worst excesses and government waste.
We propose that the
legislature publish the complete $47.3 billion Massachusetts budget – including
all off-budget spending items - on a web site that is easily readable and easily
searchable. Detail every check written by the state, to whom it is written and
what it’s for. Just as they force you to do when you file a tax return.
Once we have a detailed budget, we cut government waste by prioritizing. Fund
the essential services that people want and need the most. Clean the waste out
of each department so taxpayers get the best price possible. Once essential
services are funded, cut spending from the rest of the budget.
leave us with a lean, effective and efficient state government that serves the
workers and taxpayers, not special interests. It will cost taxpayers a fraction
of today’s Massachusetts government.
Because we will uncover much more
waste than the $12 billion that the income tax funds, we can then cut the
property tax and other taxes - in addition to ending the income tax.
How do the retirement Govt. and private companies compare?
Why haven't you been told these things about Massachusetts government employee
Compare what government employees get with what the rest of us get:
Retire at age 54
Retire at age 67|
30 years on the job for full retirement pay
6,600 work days
43 years on the job for full retirement pay |
10,320 work days
$42,000-$68,000 retirement pay starting at age 54
$16,000-$22,000 retirement pay from Social Security starting at age 67 |
Cadillac-quality health care insurance
Medicare or Medicaid
Pay 2%-9% contribution to government employee retirement
plan. Exempt from Social Security tax
Pay 6-13% Social Security tax |
Double-dipping retirement allowed - collect salary for
working AND get retirement pay
Lose Social Security pay if you work|
Almost fully funded
$50.6+ billion in the bank - at taxpayer expense
Zero dollars in the bank|
IOU slips from the federal government
As sound as
Guaranteed payout amount
Shielded from stock market swings
No guarantee of any payout |
No government obligation to pay Social Security
$6 billion back to taxpayers. We can cut $6 billion a year in
government spending and taxes by renegotiating these plush, outrageously
over-priced government employee retirement packages. Including public school
Is it any wonder that government employee unions are financing 99.8% of
the opposition to Question 1, a tax cut for you and your family?
Is it right for you to work hard all your life to fund such lucrative
government employee retirement pay - and leave you and your family with scraps?
Vote YES on 1 - and force polticians to bring budget-busting
retirement packages in line with what you'll get. It's the fair thing to do -
for you, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, and 3,400,000 workers and
taxpayers of Massachusetts.
What are some of
the other Mass taxes?Massachusetts government will be swimming in cash from
plenty of other taxes still on the books after we End the Income Tax.
Massachusetts' total tax burden will still be higher than New Hampshire's
because the city, town and state governments of Massachusetts will still have
$57 billion to spend AFTER we end the income tax.
Where do they get all
Here’s some of the taxes that you, your family members, your
neighbors and your co-workers will still have to pay after we END the income
* Sales tax
* Business and corporate taxes
* Motor vehicle registration and license fees
Turnpike, bridge and tunnel tolls (that politicians promised they’d take down)
* Gasoline tax
* Alcohol tax
* Cigarette tax
Professional license fees
* Water tax
* Sewer tax
* House closing fees and taxes
* School fees (bus,
* Fishing, hunting, and gun license fees
* Cable TV
* Long distance phone tax
* Electricity tax
* Boat anchor fees
* Court fees
* State room
* Excess lottery profits
for Public Records (which should be free! We shouldn't have to beg politicians -
and pay a fee - to find out how our money is being spent!)
doesn’t even include your local taxes such as:
* Property tax
* Community Preservation Act tax
* Auto excise tax
* Local room
* Rental car tax
* Taxi medallions
* Building permit
* Liquor license fees
* Hotel tax
* User fees (e.g.,
dump stickers; marriage, birth, and death certificates; Title V filing fees, and
The state governments will also continue to rake in
revenues from other taxpayer-funded sources including:
earnings. The state holds tens of billions of dollars in financial assets from
which they make billions of dollars in returns every year. If politicians were
not overtaxing you all these years and stuffing tax surpluses into these
government bank accounts, that wealth would be in YOUR bank account making a
return for YOU instead.
* Bond proceeds
* Lawsuit settlements,
e.g., from cigarette and food manufacturers (a tax on food and cigarette
* Federal grants and subsidies - paid for by your federal taxes.
Massachusetts is a “net payer” state, meaning we pay more in federal taxes than
the state gets back in subsidies.
All these tax and revenue sources is
why the city, town and state governments of Massachusetts will still have $57
billion to spend AFTER we end the income tax. More than $16,700 per taxpayer -
Ending the income tax is a first, critical step towards making
Massachusetts an affordable place for your family to live.
Vote YES on 1
What is Question 1?Question 1: The
Small Government Act to End the Income Tax
The Small Government Act to
End the Income Tax is a Massachusetts citizen initiative - Question 1 on the
November 4, 2008 general election ballot.
If a simple majority of voters
say "YES" to Question 1 on November 4th, the Small Government Act to End the
Income Tax will become law. We will end the Massachusetts state income tax.
The new law will go into effect immediately when election results are official,
and will affect taxpayers starting January 1, 2009.
The Small Government
Act to End the Income Tax is a binding referendum, not a constitutional
amendment nor an advisory question. It's a statute, just like any law passed by
the legislature. If a majority of voters say "Yes", it will be encoded in the
Massachusetts General Law, the body of law for the state government, the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
If we END the Income Tax in Massachusetts:
- You will save an average of $3,700 for each taxpayer in your family. Money
you'll be able to spend on your family, save for your retirement, or give away
to your favorite charity - in your own community.
- You will no longer
pay the 5.3% income tax on wages.
- If you're living on an annuity, you
will no longer pay the 5.3% income tax on interest or dividends than you need to
make ends meet.
- If you sell your house or your business, or need to
liquidate your stock or retirement fund, you will no longer pay 5.3-12% interest
on capital gains.
Best of all, we'll take $12.6 billion now wasted and
misspent every year by politicians on Beacon Hill and put it back into the hands
of the men and women who earned it.
Summary (as appears on petition
sheets and in the 2008 Official Massachusetts Information for Voters guide as
This proposed law would reduce the state personal income tax
rate to 2.65% for all categories of taxable income for the tax year beginning on
or after January 1, 2009, and would eliminate the tax for all tax years
beginning on or after January 1, 2010.
The personal income tax applies to
income received or gain realized by individuals and married couples, by estates
of deceased persons, by certain trustees and other fiduciaries, by persons who
are partners in and receive income from partnerships, by corporate trusts, and
by persons who receive income as shareholders of “S corporations” as defined
under federal tax law. The proposed law would not affect the tax due on income
or gain realized in a tax year beginning before January 1, 2009.
proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other
parts would stay in effect.
Full text of The Small Government Act to End
the Income Tax
State Personal Income Tax
OFFICIAL STATEMENT IN
FAVOR – 150 words
“41% waste in Massachusetts state government,” reveals
survey. Eliminating government waste is one reason to vote “Yes.”
“Yes” vote cuts your state income taxes 50% starting this January 1st – and
eliminates the last 50% next January 1st. For you and for 3,400,000
Massachusetts workers and taxpayers.
Your “Yes” vote gives back $3,700
each to 3,400,000 Massachusetts workers and taxpayers – including you – on
average when we end the state income tax. $3,700. Each worker. Every year.
Your ”Yes” vote will create hundreds of thousands of new Massachusetts jobs.
Your ”Yes” vote will NOT raise your property taxes NOR any other taxes.
Your ”Yes” vote will NOT cut, NOR require cuts, of any essential government
Your “Yes” vote rolls back state government spending 27% -
$47.3 billion to $34.7 billion – more than state government spending in 1999.
3,400,000 Massachusetts workers, taxpayers and their families need your help.
Please vote “Yes.”
Carla Howell, Chair
For Small Government
P.O. Box 5268
Wayland, MA 01778
Full text of The Small Government Act to End the Income Tax
Which states do not have an income tax?
Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota,
Let's add Massachusetts
to the list!
Vote Yes on Question 1.
How much $
will go back into my budget?$ Back in YOUR Budget
When the income
tax ENDS in Massachusetts:
* Families will save an average of $3,700
for each taxpayer. Money to pay the mortgage and everyday bills, pay off school
loans and credit cards, save for retirement, or give to individuals and
charities in need.
* No more 5.3% income tax on your wages.
those living on an annuity, there will no longer be a 5.3% income tax on
interest or dividends.
* House, business, and stock sales will no longer
carry a 5.3-12% interest on capital gains. Sell your stock or your house when
you need - not when tax rules may force you to sell at a loss.
all, we'll take $12 billion out of the hands of Beacon Hill politicians who
waste, misspend, and hand out it out in pork-barrel projects, sweetheart deals,
and Big Government Programs. We'll put that $12.6 billion back in the hands of
the men and women who earned it who will use it much more wisely than the state
legislature. $12.6 billion pumped back into Massachusetts communities will
create jobs and save the faltering Massachusetts economy.
YES on 1 this
November 4th will cut your income taxes in half this January 1st and end the
income tax one year later. For you, your family, your friends, your co-workers
and your neighbors.
Vote YES on Question 1
CUT GOVERNMENT WASTE !
CUT TAXES !
Does Q1 go far enough?Does
Ending the State Income Tax Go Too Far?
"41% waste in Massachusetts state
government," says Fabrizio Survey released by Citizens for Limited Taxation in
May 2008. The researchers asked likely voters how many cents on every tax dollar
they believe is wasted by the Massachusetts state government. The mean average
response was: 41 cents wasted out of every tax dollar. 41%.
As of fiscal
year 2009, the Massachusetts state government spends $47 billion every year --
on top of local government spending.
The state income tax takes $12
billion from taxpayers every year. Ending the Massachusetts Income Tax would
roll back total state government spending 27% -- to $35 billion a year, the 1999
Massachusetts state government spending level.
Reducing state government
spending by only 27% leaves the state government way more than it needs. With
41% waste, a 27% cut removes only 2/3rds of the waste in state government
spending. There will still be billions more in uncut government waste, every
year, in Massachusetts state spending - even after we end the income tax.
City and town governments collect an additional $22 billion in property taxes
and other revenue. That's in addition to the $5 billion they get in aid to city
and town governments.
After we end the income tax, and give back $3,700
on average, each to 3,400,000 workers and taxpayers, total Massachusetts city,
town and state governments will spend over $16,700 per taxpayer per year. Sound
like enough to you?
The real question is:
Does Ending the Income
Tax go far enough?
Who’s behind the No vote?
Why are the opponents of this tax cut for you and your family trying to scare
and threaten you into voting against Question 1?
opponents of ballot Question 1 are the same groups - government employee unions,
large financial corporations and others that profit from high government
spending - who have been lobbying and campaigning to RAISE your property
taxes for 28 years. They have campaigned for more than 4,000 property tax
increases in towns across Massachusetts.
They want to
raise your property taxes AND force you to keep paying the income tax.
They're PRAYING you won't find out:
- There's TENS OF BILLIONS OF
DOLLARS IN GOVERNMENT WASTE in the Massachusetts state budget. Opponents of
question 1 profit from this government waste. Ending the income tax cleans
out part of that waste.
- A survey showed that Massachusetts voters
estimate that 41% of all state government spending is wasted. It may be much
higher. 41% is about $20 billion dollars wasted every year. Ending the
income tax removes only two thirds ($12.5 billion) of that government waste.
There will still be $57.3 billion in Massachusetts government spending AFTER
we end the income tax. Massachusetts city, town, and state governments will
spend over $16,700 per taxpayer per year AFTER we end the income tax. They
spend over $20,000 per taxpayer today - the 5th highest tax burden of any
- City and town governments raise and spend $22 billion every
year independent of the state government. That's as much as the 20-year Big
Dig project! And that's on top of the $5 billion they get in aid from the
Government employee unions are funding 99.8% of opposition
to this income tax cut for you. Government employee unions get higher pay,
obscene pensions, and lucrative health care benefits compared with the average
worker and taxpayer.
Corporate lobby groups funded by
large financial corporations and others that do business with the state oppose
this tax cut for you. Their members profit from high taxes, high government
spending, and government regulations that shield them from competition, allowing
them to charge you higher prices.
An embarrassing .2%
of the opposition is funded by individuals. It is almost 100% funded and
supported by Special Interest groups.
In contrast, proponents of Question 1 to cut your taxes are small,
individual donors and volunteers.
Compare Yes on 1 and No on 1 supporters:
Yes on 1 Supporters
No on 1 Supporters
financed by individuals and small businesses
funded by government employee unions.
by individuals from their after-tax earnings.
Indirectly funded by your tax dollars.
Endorsed by the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine
Endorsed by unregistered business lobby groups that represent tax-funded and
Advocate for broad-based tax cuts that benefit millions of taxpayers
Advocate for targeted tax cuts that benefit only their wealthy clientele. Oppose
tax cuts for everyday workers.
we see the state government budget?Question:
Massachusetts government already publish the state’s budget? Shouldn’t taxpayers
be able to look at it and see where the government waste is?
The Massachusetts legislature and the governor refuse to show us, and you, the
The “budgets” they publish leave out 40% of state spending.
You have to dig very hard to just to get a summary budget that shows the state's
total spending of approximately $47.3 billion every year.
None of the
budgets they publish, even when you dig hard, show the detail that the state
government requires of you when you file your taxes. We must see the detail in
order to identify and remove all of the waste.
Wasteful spending - like
double-dipping pensions and body builders on permanent disability leave - are
impossible to find in any state budget published for public consumption. You
only learn about them when they get leaked to the press - and the press is
willing to publicize them. Too often, they won't.
On February 8, 2008, we
asked the legislature to show us the tax money. To publish the operating budget
of each of the state’s 538 agencies and entities on a web site that is easily
read and easily searched. To show us all of the state's revenues and
expenditures – including approximately $19 billion in “off budget” spending.
By posting the full, detailed state budget online, the 3,400,000 workers and
taxpayers of Massachusetts can serve as watchdogs for government waste and
Our request of the legislature to show us the tax money
We requested a detailed budget from the state
government using a Freedom of Information Act request. We were told they could
not produce this until January of 2009 (after the election!) and that they will
charge us over $6,000 for this information.
Taxpayers should not have to
beg for information nor pay for it. Full disclosure of government spending
should be automatic. Government transparency should be priority #1 for the
legislature and the governor. These tax consumers should be required to show you
the tax money. To detail state spending just as they require of you, the
Until they do, it is reasonable to suspect they are wasting
much more than 41% of what they spend - the amount voters already believe they
Do you want your tax dollars paying for a government
department that refuses to fully disclose its budget online for you and other
taxpayer to see?
Shouldn't we try
Shouldn’t we try to force the state
government to open its books first, then pass a tax cut?
Transparency has already been tried. The Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) is
already on the books.
FOIA was passed to force transparency of government
finance and other government information. It requires the government to release
information upon written request from any citizen and to charge no more than a
nominal fee for the service.
But FOIA doesn’t work. The federal and state
governments have stonewalled and blocked thousands of FOIA requests.
last of several requests for a detailed Massachusetts state budget using the
FOIA was met with a reply from the state indicating that they would only provide
us the information if we pay over $6,000! They said the soonest they would
provide us this information is this January 2009 - after the election!
The days of waiting for the legislature to open its books and do the right thing
have long passed. The situation is now urgent. High spending by the
Massachusetts legislature is bankrupting the taxpayers and driving workers and
businesses out of the state. We must reverse this immediately by ending the
Vote YES on 1.
the real budget?$47.3 Billion is
the total state government budget for this year (fiscal year 2009).
Opponents of this tax cut for you - politicians and special interests who profit
from high government spending - talk about only part of the budget. They're
hiding from you $16-19 billion dollars in "off budget" government spending.
FACT: $69.3 billion is the total of
state, city and town government budgets in Massachusetts this year.
FACT: Politicians in Massachusetts are spending more than
$20,300 per taxpayer per year. Yikes! No wonder workers and taxpayers
have been leaving Massachusetts for states with no income tax.
Massachusetts has the 5th highest tax burden in
the country. After we end the income tax, our state's overall tax burden
will still be higher than New Hampshire's.
While some mainstream news
reports accurately cite the $47.3 billion in state government spending, a number
of news articles give cover to the opponents of this tax cut for you by
reporting partial figures as the "state budget." This media distortion helps to
cover up the real spending - and helps hide and obscure the government waste in
Massachusetts government. The media's refusal to report total state spending is
a breach of taxpayer trust, and it cripples the democratic process designed to
represent the majority of Massachusetts voters.
The $47.3 billion total
state budget comes from an audited Massachusetts government report at this
government web site:
TOTAL MASSACHUSETTS BUDGET. Go to page 318 of the pdf file (page 310 of the
government report) titled "Ten-Year Schedule Of Expenditures And Other Financing
Uses By Secretariat." You'll see that Massachusetts state spending two years ago
was $44.9 billion. If you look at the nine prior years, you'll see state
spending goes up at the rate of over $1.2 billion per year, putting it at $47.3
billion this year.
As sponsors of Question 1 to End the Income Tax, we’ve
been in several debates with our opponents. They do not deny the validity of
this government report that shows $47.3 in state spending - because it is
irrefutable. It’s the state’s official, audited report on state government
spending published by the state Comptroller's office.
In their attempt to
distract you from knowing that the state is spending $47.3 billion every year,
they point out that part of that budget is lottery prize money. We agree that
the $3.5 billion the state pays in lottery prize winnings is an unwise
expenditure to cut. Legislators need to look to the remaining $43.8 billion
portion of the state budget and find the most wasteful and unnecessary $12.6
billion part of it to cut when we end the income tax.
The city and town
governments spend an additional $22 billion from your property taxes and other
revenues every year ($27 billion total spending, minus $5 billion in subsidies
from the state government). Go to this link to see their budgets:
Total Massachusetts City and Town Government Income and Spending!
Total Massachusetts state, city and town government spending this year:
Ending the income tax cuts state spending by $12.6
billion – leaving $56.7 for politicians to spend every year. It puts $12.6
billion back into the hands of the Massachusetts workers and taxpayers who
earned that money.
That’s $16,700 per
taxpayer per year for Massachusetts government – AFTER we end the income tax.
Sound like enough for you and your family to pay for Massachusetts government?
Vote YES on 1 November 4th to END the
Want to let your friends, co-workers and loved ones in on the
state's financial cover up? Print our flier "Why
Haven’t You Been Told These Things about Ballot Question 1?"