Massachusetts Group Calls
for End to State Tax
Aired August 5, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
BECK: ...First, let me -- let me put this in a way that Frankenstein
and politicians can both understand. Low taxes good. High taxes bad.
The people in Massachusetts just seem to get that, and I never thought
I would say that, but they have figured it out in Massachusetts. I
swear, it slipped through a worm hole earlier today.
Citizens have now gathered in Massachusetts 125,000 signatures to get
an initiative on the November ballot that would eliminate the state
income tax. It would repeal 5.3 income and wage tax. It would also cut
the state capital-gains tax that can get as high as 12 percent.
So how do they plan on replacing the 12.5 billion dollars in lost tax?
They don`t. This is a crazy notion. This is Massachusetts. They have
this crazy notion that they can cut their government`s allowance, and
the political geniuses will then have to think a little harder and a
lot smarter before they go spending anybody`s money. Wait a minute,
hang on. Oh, yes, Frankenstein. Remember, low spending good.
Carla Howell is the president for the Center for Small Government and
chair of the Committee for Small Government, a group behind the
initiative. What the hell are you doing? It`s Massachusetts. I mean,
this makes sense to me but not in Massachusetts. This doesn`t -- does
this have a chance of succeeding?
CARLA HOWELL, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR SMALL GOVERNMENT: It made a lot of
sense to 885,000 voters when we ran this ballot initiative to end the
state income tax back in 2002. This year there could be a lot more who
say they`re fed up, they`re going to the polls and voting yes on
Question One in Massachusetts to end the state income tax.
BECK: OK. I mean, you should be canonized if you can pull this off in
Massachusetts. But let me just -- let me just say this. You -- you`ve
tried this before. It didn`t succeed. But since that time, people have
been leaving the state -- it`s like New Jersey. People are leaving the
state in droves. Who`s left there? All the people who are like, "Oh,
the income tax is insane here." Who`s left? It`s like you and the
HOWELL: We lost some good people. That`s for sure. But really there are
still quite a few people here. There`s 3,400,000 workers and taxpayers
in Massachusetts who stand to benefit tremendously if we end the income
tax. They`ll each get back an average of $3,700 every year when we end
the income tax.
BECK: OK. So how are you seriously going to sell this to one of the
most socialist states in the union? I mean, you know, next to
California. You just put in universal health care, that Romney-care,
which is just a nightmare mess now. How are you going to convince
people to take less from the government and give less to the government?
HOWELL: Most people don`t need to be sold. It`s a matter of just
letting people know that it`s on the ballot, to make sure they go to
the polls and vote. I have absolutely no doubt that a majority of
people, even in Massachusetts are in favor of this. There`s no question
in my mind about that. It`s a question of whether they`re going to go
to the polls and vote on November 4. I hope they do.
BECK: So what is the -- what is the opposition like for this? I mean,
seriously, in Massachusetts you`ve got to be a pariah in the power
centers. You know what I mean? You`re in the state with the Kennedys.
HOWELL: Well, the opposition is going to be substantial. They`re going
to spend millions of dollars trying to defeat our initiative. But the
good news is that, first of all, most people want to end the income
tax. You don`t even have to sell them on it. But also there`s been a
lot of publicity in Massachusetts about government waste. Unbelievable
story after story of government waste.
BECK: Give me some -- give me some of the waste.
HOWELL: And people are fed up.
Well, the Big Dig they said was going to cost $2.3 billion. It ended up
being ten times that amount. It`s now over $22 billion.
The government employee pensions are absolutely out of hand -- out of
control. A lot of people in the private sector aren`t even getting
pensions anymore except for what piddling annuities they can expect,
maybe, from Social Security some day, whereas the government employee
pensions are guaranteed. They`re retiring in their 40s and 50s. Some of
them are double dipping, getting a pension and then working for another
government agency and collecting two salaries.
BECK: Oh, my gosh.
HOWELL: And people are disgusted with this. They just signed off
another $3 billion in spending for more government employee pensions.
That`s just one example. There`s been a long list of them, and people
are getting fed up. And they should.
BECK: Carla, I have to tell you, I think while our government is still
ready to go off the deep end with bigger government, socialized
programs, everything else, I have a sense that more and more states are
starting to say, "You know what? I don`t think so."
I think the cure, as it always does, the cure is going to come from the
local and state as the people just try to fix their own state and say,
"This is insane. I`ve seen this enough." And then the government`s in
real trouble if they don`t follow what`s happening in these states.
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