Massachusetts Income Tax Rate Reduction Initiative, Question 4 (2000)

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The Massachusetts Income Tax Rate Reduction Initiative, also known as Question 4 was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. It was approved.

The initiative proposed a law that would lower the state personal income tax by 5%.

Election results

Question 4 (Income Tax Rate Reduction)
Approveda Yes 1,541,771 56.40%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot was:

Do you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives before May 3, 2000?

A NO VOTE would make no change in the state income tax laws.

A YES VOTE would reduce the state personal income tax rate in steps over three years to 5%.[1][2]


The official ballot summary for Question 4 was:

The proposed law would repeal the law setting the state personal income tax rate on Part B taxable income (such as wages and salaries), which was 5.95% as of September 1 1999, and would set the rate at 5.6% for tax year 2001, 5.3% for tax year 2002, and 5% for tax year 2003 and after. If the legislature set a lower rate for any of those years, that lower rate would apply.

The proposed law stated that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would remain in effect.[1][2]

Full text

The full text of the legislation enacted by Question 4 is available here.


The initiative was supported by the Tax Rollback Committee. The committee stated that the legislature had raised taxes during a fiscal crisis in 1989 with the promise that the tax raise was only temporary. Since 1989, the tax rate had not been lowered and state spending had doubled. The committee argued that the proposed law would result in a pay raise for working people, allowing taxpayers to "invest in their family's future or favorite charity."


The initiative was opposed by the Campaign for Massachusetts' Future. The organization argued that voting against the initiative would keep the state focused on Massachusetts' top priorities: better schools, improved access to health care, and a strong economy.

They also argued that:

  • Massachusetts needs a healthy, well-educated workforce to be competitive in the global economy. The proposed law would make it harder to reduce class size, expand early childhood education, fix crumbling schools, or increase health care.
  • The proposed law benefits wealthier people far more than middle-income families, but does nothing to promote investments or create jobs.

Question 4 was also opposed by the majority of the Joint Committee on Taxation, who called the proposed law irresponsible and reckless. They argued that a better alternative would be a law that, like Question 4, would phase in tax cuts, but would allow the legislature to "temporarily [suspend] them if the economy falters." They argued that, as worded, Question 4 "costs too much, too fast." They also echoed the Campaign for Massachusetts' Future's concern that the tax cuts in Question 4 provide most of their relief to the people in the upper tiers of income.

See also

External links

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