It's not in the same league as gay marriage, but Carla Howell and company's attempt to abolish the state's income tax through a voter referendum is getting some national exposure. The Wall Street Journal's Tom Herman uses the somewhat antiquated "Taxachusetts" label in the lead of his round-up of tax questions across the US. Here's part of his write-up:
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington-based coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups opposed to tax increases, agrees. The Massachusetts vote, officially dubbed "Question One," "could be a model for the future" in many other states, he says.
Critics of the proposal say passage would be a major blow. "It would be an absolute disaster for the state," says Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a Boston public-policy research group funded primarily by employers.
Herman mentions Gov. Deval Patrick's opposition to the proposal, but he doesn't note Patrick's recent high-profile signals (vetoing public pension increases, curbing highway police details) that he's trying to tighten state spending -- moves that may be more important than any ad campaign against Question One. It's hard to believe that Patrick didn't have the impending vote in mind when he authorized one of his cabinet officials to do this:
After a public rebuke from the Patrick administration, MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas agreed yesterday to rescind a 9 percent pay raise for executive employees that had been criticized as excessive for an agency struggling to pay its bills...
[H]e backed down yesterday after state Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen, who is also chairman of the MBTA board, sent him a letter urging him to rescind the raises for the most highly paid employees.