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. Overspending bad.
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 Kennedys.
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
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
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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