Five Things: Hughes Keeps Pressure up, Gas Tax Repeal Effort, Software Tax Repeal Effort and more

Kirsten Hughes Keeps Up Pressure on Dem Flip Floppers

In yesterday’s Lowell Sun Kirsten Hughes kept up the pressure on Democratic tax flip floppers.

In the middle of a summer heat wave, in an off-election year, when a royal baby and courthouse dramas captured the public’s attention, the Democrats at the Statehouse enacted massive tax increases worth at least $500 million to fund transportation projects. Timing, they say, is everything.

By this time next year, those same legislators will be running for re-election and hoping the voters do not remember their role in the 2013 Tax Massacre. Escaping painful memories of “Taxachusetts” may be wishful thinking. The actions of the Democratic legislators are the political shenanigans upon which opposition campaigns are built. As the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, my job of recruiting candidates just got a whole lot easier.

Consider these key facts, which will undoubtedly be talking points in the 2014 races for the state Legislature:

Gas Tax Ballot Initiative

Republican lawmakers, candidates, and conservative activists joined together on the State House steps to announce a ballot initiative aimed at repealing the, now indexed to inflation, gas tax hike.  In a press release:

Today a group of taxpayers gathered on the outside State House stairs to announce that they are filing a ballot initiative to cut the linkage between the gas tax and inflation which the legislature recently passed.

“It is outrageous that Beacon Hill is increasing our gas tax every year for the rest of lives without a vote.  That’s taxation without representation.  It is wrong and we are going to stop it,” said Steve Aylward, who is the Republican State Committee man that ran the very successful signature drive for Mike Sullivan last winter.

The initial supporters of the ballot initiative include Marty Lamb, Chris Pinto, Republican National Committee woman Chanel Prunier, Les Gosule who passed Melissa’s law in 2012, Jeff Bailey, State Representative Leah Cole, Stephen Coulter, Alex Vispoli, State Representative Geoff Diehl, State Representative Jim Lyons, State Representative Marc Lombardo, Rick Gleason of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association, Rich Howell, Paul Craney of Mass Fiscal, Desiree Awiszio, Jamie Kang, Mike Mosca, Marylou Daxland, Katie Regan, State Representative Shaunna O’Connell, John O’Mara of the Northborough Tea Party, Barbara Anderson of Citizens of Limited Taxation, and many more.

Last month the legislature passed the so-called transportation bill which included a gas tax hike, a new tax on computer software, and a cigarette tax increase. It also linked the gas tax to CPI which allows the gas tax to increase every year without a vote of the legislature.

“This year our state took in over $600 million above projections.  We don’t need this tax package.  I voted against this bill in the House and I am not going to sit on the sidelines now while the state reaches into our wallets every year for the rest of our lives for more and more money without an accountable vote being taken,” said State Representative Diehl.

Tech Businesses to Fund Software Tax Repeal Initiative

The Boston Business Journal is reporting that the Tech industry is going to fund a repeal of the software services tax.

According to people familiar with the effort, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and the Mass High Tech Council intend to file a formal petition to repeal tomorrow. The filing was to be timed in coordination with a planned news story in the Boston Globe detailing the legislative push.

“I want you to know in advance that the Mass Taxpayers Foundation, joined by the Mass High Tech Council, will file an initiative petition to repeal the tax on computer and software services. We will file the petition tomorrow and the Boston Globe will run a story tomorrow morning,” wrote Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation President Michael Widmer, in a letter emailed to members Tuesday afternoon.

Hopefully Michael Widmer will focus the blame on the real culprits; the Democrats that voted for this bill, and fund an effort to defeat them.

Garrett Quinn’s New Gig

The hardest working libertarian journalist in the business just got picked up by the Springfield Republican.  Garrett Quinn, former RMG Editor, will be covering Eastern and Central Massachusetts for the paper, and its online portal MassLive.com.  Congrats Garrett.

Reuters: NSA data used to prosecute Americans for crimes on American soil

Our good friends at the NSA are at it again.  This time Reuters is reporting that the NSA is collaborating with Eric Holder’s Justice Department to use information gained by violating the Fourth Amendment in prosecutions of Americans for drug crimes.  This is chilling, something needs to be done. Here is the story:

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

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