An Analysis of Question 3

Time to get down and look at the details of the most important ballot question this November.  Let us see why the Boston Herald endorsed this ballot initiative and why the National Taxpayer Union is featuring Question 3 on their 2010 ballot guide.


Deval Patrick and Beacon Hill realized that they were looking at critical budget shortfalls and responded by raising several taxes upon the citizens of Massachusetts.  One of which was to raise the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%.  

This move was especially hurtful in light of the failed Question 1 ballot initiative from 2008 which proposed to cut the MA Income Tax from 5.3% to 0.   With power of 7 million dollars from the Teacher Unions the Question 1 initiative lost badly.  Not only was the Obama wave a bad time for such a question, but the Center for Small Government was outspent by a magnitude of 35 to 1.  An opportunity for MA citizens to have their taxes reduced outside of Beacon Hill rests largely on the shoulders of Carla Howell and her volunteers comprising of regular everyday citizens.   A story of David vs. Goliath when you factor the amount of money and effort it takes to get a ballot initiative approved and the power and might of the opposing teacher unions. So it becomes our duty to give every ballot initiative an honest and careful examination.

Question 3

The purpose of this analysis is not to rehash talking points that can be found on the main Question 3 website, RollBackTaxes and the opposition website VotenoOnQuestion3. The point is to cut through the propaganda from both sides and get as many facts on the table as possible before ADD kicks in.  Because these ballot initiatives become law and have to be immediately implemented, it is your duty as a voting citizen to carefully consider your vote!  Let us by addressing some of the popular questions first.

What are the benefits?

More money for you:   Common sense, history and BHI tell us that MA will experience tens of thousands of new jobs.  Furthermore, by no longer having to hand over private money to the state government citizens can choose to spend hundreds of dollars as they see fit.  Some estimates suggest 33,000 new jobs and over 500 dollars in your pocket – however treat all such linear statistical analysis with skepticism.  Ultimately the numbers are meaningless.

Less money for Beacon Hill: Milton Friedman wrote about this next common sense point decades ago.  The most efficient way to spend money is by the individual who owns this money.  Conversely, the most inefficient way to spend is to spend someone else’s money on someone else.   Following?  So our government is the most inefficient spender of our money and controlling the flow is critical to our well being.

Smaller government:  By cutting revenues, we force Beacon Hill to shrink government.  Whether it be reducing staff, reducing salaries, reducing departments, it really does not matter – because a smaller government means more efficiency, less waste and less fraud, not to mention more cash for us.

What are the consequences?

Smaller government:  Yes, a smaller government does have consequences.  As people continue to elect politicians who make promises, these promises must be maintained.  Just like the problems we are experiencing with Social Security and Medicare, the MA government has people dependent on essential services.  A reduction in revenue and a reduction in the size of government could potentially compromise these promises.

Other issues?

Implementation:  I would like to bring this up and address this point quickly.  There have been claims made that even if this ballot imitative passes then Beacon Hill will not implement this.  First of all, if this was the case then why is so much money being spent on trying to oppose this?  Why did teacher unions spend over 7 million dollars in 2008 to block something that would never be implemented?  Silly, right?  Furthermore, over the past 30 years there have been dozens of ballot questions that were voted on and are still law today.  

The meat and potatoes, can Massachusetts afford a 3% sales tax?

Let us cut to the main point, shall we?  Even I am starting to doze off here.  The issue boils down to this:    Our state is already experiencing budget shortfalls, can we really afford to deprive another 2.5 billion?  Furthermore, if we do indeed deprive the state government of this 2.5 billion then services that people need most will be cut.   Ok, let us take a look!

Please

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