Difference between revisions of "Massachusetts Sales Tax Relief Act, Question 3 (2010)"

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Revision as of 16:14, 29 October 2010

Massachusetts Question 3, filed under the name, the 3% Sales Tax Relief Act, will appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. The measure, if enacted by voters, would reduce the state sales tax rate from 6.25 to 3 percent. The measure is being sponsored by the Alliance to Roll Back Taxes headed by Carla Howell. The measure would be enacted into a law 30 days after the election if approved by voters. The measure was filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of State in September 2009.[1][2][3][4][5]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Stay tuned for election results on November 2, 2010:

Question 3 (Sales Tax Relief)
Result Votes Percentage
Result not yet known
Total votes 0%
Voter turnout  %


Results via Massachusetts Elections Division.

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title of the measure reads:

Do you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives before May 4, 2010? [6]

Summary

The summary of the measure[7] reads:

This proposed law would reduce the state sales and use tax rates (which were 6.25 percent as of September 2009) to 3 percent as of Jan. 1, 2011. It would make the same reduction in the rate used to determine the amount to be deposited with the state Commissioner of Revenue by non-resident building contractors as security for the payment of sales and use tax on tangible personal property used in carrying out their contracts.

The proposed law provides that if the 3 percent rates would not produce enough revenues to satisfy any lawful pledge of sales and use tax revenues in connection with any bond, note, or other contractual obligation, then the rates would instead be reduced to the lowest level allowed by law.

The proposed law would not affect the collection of moneys due the Commonwealth for sales, storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property or services occurring before Jan. 1, 2011.

The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.

A YES VOTE would reduce the state sales and use tax rates to 3 percent.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the state sales and use tax rates.

Support

Supporters

  • The Alliance to Roll Back Taxes, a campaign committee formed by Carla Howell and Michael Cloud with 2010 reported contribution receipts coming primarily from out-of-state donors[8], is the sponsor of the measure, which they also refer to as the Initiative to Roll Back the Sales Tax. The group argued that the passage of the amendment would create 32,929 jobs in the private sector.[9]
  • Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Christy Mihos stated his support for the measure.[10]
  • Current State Rep. Daniel K. Webster, 6th Plymouth District. Strongly supports Question 3 because "it would tie the hands of Beacon Hill and send a strong message to control spending" [11]
  • Congressional Candidate Vernon Harrison stated about the measure, "I am in favor of any tax decrease. I think our government needs to learn how to spend less. Some solutions can be temporary. Tax increases right now with the way Americans are suffering would increase the burden and that is wrong and part of the problem with the economy."[12]
  • Bill Campbell Candidate for MA Secretary of State [13]
  • Bill Gunn Candidate for US Representative 1st Congressional [14]
  • Marty Lamb Candidate for US Representative 3rd Congressional [15]
  • Bill Hudak Candidate for US Representative 6th Congressional [16]
  • Gerry Dembrowski Candidate for US Representative 7th Congressional [17]
  • Vernon Harrison Candidate for US Representative 9th Congressional [18]
  • Kamal Jain former Candidate for State Auditor [19]

Arguments

  • Sandra Plasival, a student at Quincy College, said she thinks the economy could benefit from the measure, arguing, "Reducing the sales tax is a big step in ending the recession. It benefits people who aren’t financially stable and people who are financially stable probably don’t care.”[20]
  • Dan Cotter, a resident of Quincy, said that the measure is needed, echoing other supporters who were arguing for the measure. Cotter claimed, "It’s a tough economy, and I think that Massachusetts already has a pretty high sales tax."[20]
  • Carla Howell of the Alliance to Rollback Taxes argued, "Yes on Question 3 is the only way to roll back taxes and force the Legislature to cut government waste. The successful Massachusetts ballot initiative of 2000 lowered the income tax from 5.95 percent to 5.3 percent. It has saved taxpayers $7 billion!"[21]
  • Howell also argued the following point: "About 94,200 Massachusetts workers lost their jobs in 2009. What did the Massachusetts state Legislature do? They raised state government spending by $4 billion, and they raised the sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent. The result? More Massachusetts businesses driven out of state - or shuttered."[22]
  • Howell countered opponents' arguments of jobs cuts if the passage of the amendment happens by stating, "Notice how every time there’s a tax cut on the table, the teachers union and other special interests run the same ads with the same lines: 'Vote no - or else we’ll have to cut police, fire, schools and roads?' Yet total spending on police, fire, schools and roads keeps going up - every year."[22]
  • In a published column written by Howell, five main arguments were made to support the measure:[23]
Create 33,000 new private sector jobs
Give back over $900 average — every year — to every family in Massachusetts
Force state politicians to cut government waste
Keep shoppers in Massachusetts — instead of driving them to New Hampshire’s 0 percent sales tax
Attract shoppers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and New York
  • Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby argued four points as to why the question should pass. In the editorial, Jacoby stated that the four points were:[24]
When times are tough, even state government should learn to make do with less.
Government’s budgets are as high as they’ve ever been.
Lower tax rate will generate economic growth.
Voting for Question 3 is the only way for Massachusetts taxpayers to get the government's attention.

Campaigning, events and rallies

  • During the weekend of August 15, 2010, proponents of the measure used a tax free holiday to persuade voters in favor of the tax rollback proposal. Proponents handed out fliers and bumper stickers to those out for the holiday. According to the campaign for the measure, they accused lawmakers of approving the two-day holiday in order to alleviate voters' "appetites" for cutting sales tax. According to campaign leader Carla Howell, "Get a sales tax reduction every day with yes on 3. Huge savings, if we do that, for shoppers and even better benefits for job seekers."[25]

Opposition

Opponents

Arguments

Arguments that have been made against the measure include:

  • According to Boston Globe Columnist Yvonne Abraham, in a column published on September 9, 2010, the measure should be voted down. Abraham pointed out that all four candidates for governor are against the measure, and stated, "The fact that not one of the candidates — some of them champion panderers — is willing to go as far as those 54 percent of voters is a testament to the severity of our situation. And to the wrong-headedness of Question 3." Abraham argued about the measure, "For voters understandably angry about paying higher taxes during hard times, it’s a seductive argument. Especially when lawmakers do a lousy job of making clear what we get in return for our taxes — and tolerate some government waste. But the rollback would hurt. A lot."[32]
  • Arguments against the measure, and Question 1, in an editorial by Katie Robey, member of the Marlborough School Committee and president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, included the following: "As we pull out of the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, citizens must consider the risks of undercutting education, public safety, health care, infrastructure needs, and long term recovery by such a foolish and risky pair of ballot questions. It represents no false alarm to say that the loss of billions of dollars from sales tax revenues will mean sharp cuts to local aid and municipal and regional services. Those are services that your communities deliver every day."[33]
  • Brian T. Watson, Salem News columnist, argued that a vote for the measure would punish government and residents of the state. Watson claimed, "To fix our national economy, we need to create a staggering 15 million private-sector jobs. It took us 30 years to develop the dysfunctional, overextended hyper-economy that almost completely collapsed in 2008. It may take years to repair, reform and reinvigorate many components of the private sector. In the short term, in what is still a crisis, state government has a big role to play in spending, rescuing, stabilizing, employing and regulating. There is no other power available whose stated mission is to act in the public interest, and whose capabilities can help guide the reassembly of a new and better economy. Let's not punish our government by approving Question 3. Vote no."[34]
  • The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association (MSSAA), who unanimously voted to oppose the measure, argued the following in a released statement: "It is obvious that the effect of the draconian cut in the revenue from the sales tax proposed in this question would have a disastrous effect upon all the institutions including our public schools. Public education in Massachusetts, already struggling with financial shortfalls, and facing increasing deficits as matters stand now, could not absorb the level of cutting that passage of this initiative would impose."[35]

Campaigning, events and stories

  • According to a report, the town of Holbrook would lose nearly $700,000 in state aid if voters passed the measure. The $700,000 that could possibly be lost would include $550,000 for schools. According to Town Administrator Michael Yunits, on October 5, 2010 to the board of selectmen, "It would be devastating to Holbrook if this passed." In a letter written to Yunits by Superintendent of Schools Joseph Baeta, Baeta argued that the department already had to cut more than $900,000 from the 2010-2011 budget. Baeta wrote, "It is my belief that the Question 3 initiative will cause serious issues for communities and schools, especially those that are truly at bare-bones, as we are in Holbrook."[36]

Campaign contributions

Opposition

State reports showing key campaign financers:

Please see ["http://www.efs.cpf.state.ma.us/SearchReportResults.aspx?cpfId=95359"] for more donors:

Contributor Amount
National Education Association $1,325,000.00
Massachusetts Teachers Association $1,062,000.00
Service Employees International Union $888,000.00
American Federation of Teachers - Massachusetts $704,000.00
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees $200,000.00
Boston Teachers Union $150,000.00
Mass Nurses Association $104,000.00

Media endorsements

See also Endorsements of Massachusetts ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Boston Herald, A major Boston news paper stated support for the initiative in an editorial published on October 7, 2010, writing "Sometimes a proposition is known by the enemies it makes - and lining up against the tax rollback are all the usual suspects. Unions - mostly public employee unions - have thus far built a $1.3 million kitty to pay for the coming onslaught of radio and TV ads." and "Taxpayers and voters are just fed up with lawmakers who listen more to special interests, more to public employee unions, more to advocates than to those paying the bills. Sometimes voters have to shout to be heard. This is one of those times"[37]

Opposition

  • Open Media Boston stated its opposition to the measure [38]
  • The Register in Yarmouth recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "Our towns and cities already have been forced to cope with up to 25 percent reductions in state aid since 2009. The 6.25 percent sales tax must stand, for now. Vote “no” on Question 3."[39]
  • The Massachusetts Daily Collegian is against the measure, as well as the two other ballot measures on the ballot. The publication wrote, "With Massachusetts in precarious financial straits, we need all of the revenue we can pump into social services. While it might be nice to have a few extra pennies in our pockets and purses, what we would lose if we pass these three questions vastly outweighs the few cents per dollar we would get back."[40]
  • The Sun Chronicle is against the measure, as well as the other two ballot measures on the ballot, writing, "Massachusetts voters face three questions on the ballot on Nov. 2. Question 1 would remove the sales tax on alcohol, 2 would repeal Chapter 40B - alternately called the affordable housing law or anti-snob zoning law - and 3 would roll back the sales tax to 3 percent. The state would be best served by votes of No on each question."[41]
  • The Tufts Daily stated opposition, arguing, "It is imperative that voters take heed of what the passage of this ballot initiative would entail for Massachusetts. They must not allow the allure of a tax cut sway them toward a measure that would devastate the Commonwealth's already anemic financial condition."[42]
  • The South Coast Today argued that voters should reject all three measures on the 2010 ballot, stating, "The interests of Massachusetts residents will be served best by a "no" vote on all three ballot questions on Tuesday."[43]
  • The Republican published an editorial against the measure, stating, "When the economy improves, we hope the Legislature will review the sales tax rate, but this is not the time. The state stands to lose $12.5 billion if the tax reverts to 3 percent. We urge a “no” vote on Question 3. "[44]

Analysis and studies

  • According to a report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the state would lose its "AA" credit if voters approve of the measure in November. According to the report, the tax cut would cost the state $2.5 billion, which would raise the deficit to $4.5 billion in FY12 (which begins in June of 2011). The non-partisan, Boston-based watchdog group's analysis concluded that, "It is not an exaggeration to say that the resulting massive spending cuts would eliminate or erode a wide range of services -- from education and public safety to health care and human services -- that for decades the citizens of Massachusetts have counted on the government to provide." The report also stated, "It is impossible to overstate the enormity of the consequences of reducing state revenues by $2.5 billion when programs have already been cut by $2 billion and with the state facing another $2 billion shortfall next year."[45][46]
  • Question 3 is projected by both proponents and opposition to result in a $992 million reduction in sales tax revenues in FY11 and a $2.5 billion reduction in sales tax revenues for FY12.[47][48]
  • Proponents argue that the drop in sales tax receipts will be offset by positive economic effects. The Alliance to Roll Back Taxes contends that rolling back the sales tax to 3% will stimulate $132 million in private sector investment, put an average of $688 back in the pockets of 3,400,000 taxpayers and create 33,000 new, private sector jobs based on their interpretation of a May 2009 study by the Beacon Hill Institute. "A Beacon Hill Institute study in 2009 showed that increasing the sales tax from 5% to 6.25% would cause almost 10,000 private sector workers to lose their jobs. Applying that metric in reverse, voting YES on 3 to roll back the sales tax to 3% will create 33,000 new private sector jobs."[49][50]
  • Political leaders in the state have claimed that there is no current backup plan if the measure is approved by voters. If the measure is approved, it would affect the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2010.[2]

Polling

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • Three polls by Suffolk University and News 7 have been taken, one in February, one in May and one in September, that have returned identical results. The margin of error on the polls were plus or minus 4.4 percent.[51][52][53]
  • In another poll, called the State House News Service Poll, the majority of voters surveyed stated that they were in favor of the measure. The poll was conducted by KRC/Communications between August 29-31, 2010.[54]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
February 21-24, 2010 Suffolk University/7News 49% 44% 7% 500
May 20-23, 2010 Suffolk University/7News 49% 44% 7% 500
August 29-31, 2010 KRC/Communications 54% 44% 2% 500
September 19, 2010 Suffolk University/7News 51% 42% 7% 500
September 17-22, 2010 The Boston Globe 46% 43% 11% 522
October 10-12 Suffolk University/7News 44% 49% 6% 500

Path to the ballot

See also: Massachusetts signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

Activists stated during the week of November 19, 2009 that they had collected enough signatures to place the measure on the 2010 ballot. Carla Howell, chairwoman of the committee organizing the effort, Alliance to Roll Back Taxes, declined to provide the number of signatures collected, but did state: "We do feel confident we've submitted more than the requirement.” The initiative was reviewed by the Massachusetts Legislature. Since the Massachusetts Legislature did not approve of the initiative by the May 4, 2010 deadline, petition organizers must have obtained signatures from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and submit them before or on July 7, 2010. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office, that number amounted to 11,099 signatures.[9]

On June 23, 2010, initiative supporters turned in approximately 19,000 signatures, giving them a good chance of making the ballot in November. Carla Howell, the leader of the initiative campaign, stated that the measure will be placed on the ballot since that number of signatures was well over the 11,099 required.[56]

On July 13, 2010, the Secretary of the Commonwealth affirmed that the sales tax roll back to 3% measure will be on the ballot as Question 3.

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading

Opposition

Debate

References

  1. Massachusetts Secretary of State, "Elections: Initiative Petition for Law"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Boston Herald, "Mass. leaders: No ‘Plan B’ if sales tax cut passes", May 23, 2010
  3. Wicked Local, "Massachusetts ballot questions announced by secretary of state", July 15, 2010
  4. PR Inside, "Fitch Rates Massachusetts' $358MM GO Bonds 'AA+'; Outlook Stable", August 17, 2010
  5. Massachusetts Attorney General, http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=cagoterminal&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Government&L2=Initiatives+%26+Other+Ballot+Questions&sid=Cago&b=terminalcontent&f=government_initiativepetitiontracking&csid=Cago
  6. Massachusetts Secretary of State
  7. Massachusetts Elections Division 2010 Information For Voters
  8. [1]95355 Alliance to Roll Back Taxes 2010 Receipts (Massachusetts Elections Division)
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Republican, "Effort gains steam to trim sales tax", November 19, 2009
  10. Massachusetts Local News, "Republicans to pick top candidate for Massachusetts governor's race", April 16, 2010
  11. 95.9 WATD, "6th Plymouth District State Rep. Debate"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Needham Patch, "Congressional Candidates on Ballot Question 3", October 28, 2010
  13. "Q3 Endorsement Page"
  14. "Q3 Endorsement Page"
  15. "Q3 Endorsement Page"
  16. "Q3 Endorsement Page"
  17. "Q3 Endorsement Page"
  18. "Q3 Endorsement Page"
  19. ]http://www.rollbacktaxes.com/2010/09/kamal-jain-supports-yes-on-3/, "Kamal Jain's Endorsement Video"]
  20. 20.0 20.1 Wicked Local, "Sales tax cut ballot question is causing a stir", September 23, 2010
  21. Wicked Local, "Two views on cutting state sales and use tax rates", October 15, 2010
  22. 22.0 22.1 Massachusetts Live, "Viewpoint: Tax rollback will help small business", October 17, 2010
  23. Wicked Local, "Vote yes: Create jobs", October 28, 2010
  24. Boston Globe, "Four reasons to vote ‘yes’ and roll back the sales tax", October 24, 2010
  25. Massachusetts Live, "Tax holiday used to push tax rollback", August 15, 2010
  26. OCPF, "2010 Oct 20th Report", October, 2010
  27. Wicked Local, "Wolf: Just say no", October 18, 2010
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 The Sun Chronicle, "Sales tax cut a tough sell", February 22, 2010
  29. Boston Herald, "Reports calls for bigger state spending cuts, warns of $5B budget gap", March 1, 2010
  30. Wicked Local, "Newton mayor warns about danger of sales tax rollback", October 6, 2010
  31. Dorchester Reporter, "On November 2nd, vote 'no' on all three ballot questions", October 6, 2010
  32. Boston Globe, "Question 3? Answer is no", September 9, 2010
  33. Milford Daily News, "Robie: Questions 1 and 3 test values", October 3, 2010
  34. Salem News, "Brian T. Watson: Vote for Question 3 punishes government — and yourself", October 7, 2010
  35. Business Wire, "MSSAA Recommends No Vote on Question #3", October 13, 2010
  36. Wicked Local, "Holbrook stands to lose $700K from proposed sales tax cut", October 6, 2010
  37. on Question 3- Boston Herald
  38. [2]
  39. Wicked Local, "EDITORIAL: Ballot questions: No, no, and no", October 17, 2010
  40. The Daily Collegian, "Massachusetts ballot questions: No, No and No", October 21, 2010
  41. Sun Chronicle, "Tax-cut proposals, 40B repeal, would hobble Bay State", October 25, 2010
  42. The Tufts Daily, "Editorial | Keep the Mass. sales tax: Vote no on 3", October 28, 2010
  43. South Coast Today, "OUR VIEW: Defeat ballot questions", October 26, 2010
  44. Masslive.com, "Editorial: Vote no Massachusetts ballot questions 1, 2 and 3", October 27, 2010
  45. Reuters.com, "Massachusetts rating hinges on ballot question: study", September 22, 2010
  46. Gloucester Times, "Business report targets sales-tax referendum", September 26, 2010
  47. [3]Beacon Hill Institute, Massachusetts Sales Tax Hike Would Destroy 12,000 Jobs and Destroy $51M in Investment
  48. [4] The Alliance to Roll Back Taxes "About Us" Page
  49. [5]Beacon Hill Institute, Massachusetts Sales Tax Hike Would Destroy 12,000 Jobs and Destroy $51M in Investment
  50. [6] The Alliance to Roll Back Taxes "About Us" Page
  51. Suffolk University, "Poll shows Republican Baker Surging", February 25, 2010
  52. Suffolk University, "Suffolk University/7News Poll shows Patrick with Double-Digit Lead; Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Unlimited Corporate Spending on Campaigns", May 25, 2010
  53. Suffolk Universty, "Suffolk University/7News Poll Shows Patrick Leads Charlie Baker by 7 Percent: Candidates Meet Tonight for Televised Debate", September 21, 2010
  54. Enterprise News, "Sales tax rollback wins support of 54 percent in poll", September 8, 2010
  55. The Boston Herald, "Mass. voters split on sales tax cut", September 27, 2010
  56. Boston.com, "Backers say sales tax cut to be on ballot", June 24, 2010