"That's not right. It's not even wrong."

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli's remark
about a student's physics paper


An Open Letter
to the Massachusetts State Legislature
From Carla Howell and Michael Cloud,
Sponsors of the 2008
Massachusetts End the Income Tax
Ballot Initiative

Re: Your Vote to increase the Massachusetts Sales Tax

Dear Honorable Legislators,

"What's 2 plus 2?" a first grade teacher asked her students.

"4," said one child.

"3," said another.

"Peaches," answered the third.

The first answer was right, the second was wrong, and the third answer wasn't even wrong.

Basic Economics teaches: "If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less, tax it."

Yet you RAISED the Massachusetts sales tax from 5% to 6.25% - at a time when Massachusetts sales are down — and fragile.

You RAISED the sales tax — at a time of rising layoffs and falling pay of private sector employees.

You RAISED the sales tax — when retail businesses are struggling to survive.

We need to increase sales in Massachusetts, NOT reduce them.

When faced with Massachusetts' current economic recession, you had 3 ways to vote on the sales tax:

1. "Cut or End the sales tax" — the right answer.

2. "Keep the sales tax at 5% — the wrong answer.

3. "Raise the sales tax to 6.25% — the Not Even Wrong answer.

Your sales tax increase will make things worse for those who sell and those who buy in Massachusetts.

Your sales tax hike will cause more retail employee layoffs, less sales assistance for shoppers, reduced inventory purchases by businesses, and more business closures in Massachusetts.

Honorable Legislators, it is not enough to merely undo what you have done.

You must undo the sales tax.

On behalf of the 3,200,000+ workers of Massachusetts,

On behalf of those 10,000 to 30,000 employees in danger of being laid off because of your job-killing tax hike,

We request that you immediately repeal the Massachusetts state sales tax.

We request that this $4 billion tax reduction be matched by an equal $4 billion government spending reduction.

Total state and local government spending in Massachusetts - on budget and off budget - is slightly over $70 billion.

$4 billion tax reduction divided by $70 billion total Massachusetts government spending is a 5.7% spending cut. This will leave $66 billion.

We request that you instruct each government department to streamline, eliminate inefficiencies and waste, and remove the unneeded - to easily trim off 5.7%.

If any government department has trouble identifying at least 5.7% in non-essential spending, we will be delighted to come down and help.

We've been warned that it's not possible to END the sales tax because you are using the tax as collateral for billions of dollars in state government bonds.

No problem. Simply substitute collateral for the bonds. Businesses do it all the time. You can, too.

ENDing the Massachusetts sales tax now will put $4 billion each year back in the hands of consumers. A portion of that will end up in the cash registers of struggling Massachusetts retail businesses. And the pockets of hundreds of thousands of employees who work for them.

ENDing the Massachusetts sales tax now will make our state a fertile ground for new start-ups and small businesses.

ENDing the Massachusetts sales tax now will attract investors and jobs to our state.

ENDing the sales tax now could guarantee that Massachusetts will break out of the Recession first - that we will get a head start toward America's next economic boom.

On behalf of the 3,200,000+ million workers who are aching and longing for a way out of this Economic Recession,

We ask you to re-think, re-vote, and remove the Massachusetts state sales tax now.


Carla Howell and Michael Cloud
The Center For Small Government