Last week, we informed you about a couple of surprising allies in Massachusetts and Oregon in the fight against regressive and irresponsible ballot proposals. Since then, more valuable support in favor of reasoned tax policy has come from another surprising source: key business groups in Massachusetts and Colorado.
Ballot Proposal to Repeal Massachusetts Income Tax
In Massachusetts, that support (in opposition to the proposed repeal of the state's income tax) comes in the form of a 26 page report prepared by the Global Insight consulting firm on behalf of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. Among the report's criticisms is that the measure would slash funds so drastically that low- and middle-income residents would be effectively deprived of access to higher education. The report also places emphasis on the inevitable decline in the state's infrastructure (a key component of doing business) that would accompany the repeal. An apt summary of the report, in the words of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, is that repealing the income tax would "devastate the state's economy".
Ballot Proposal to Undo Part of the So-Called "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" in Colorado
Equally influential business groups in Colorado have expressed a similar desire for sound tax policy. In Colorado, the debate is over a proposal to alter the requirement under the "TABOR" amendment, passed a decade ago, that requires surplus revenues to be used for rebate checks sent to households. The proposal on the ballot this year would redirect the automatic TABOR refunds into a special fund for education, which would help free the state from the unrealistic restraints on revenue imposed by TABOR. Among the business groups in support of the measure are the Associated General Contractors, Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, Colorado Retail Council, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. In the words of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, "this proposal will help Colorado get out of the bottom in funding", and is simply "smart business".
The broad coalitions forming in each of these states vividly demonstrate the importance of the coming vote on these proposals. And at least in Massachusetts, a recent poll indicates that this broad-base of opposition appears to be producing results. But in Colorado, unfortunately, the numbers are looking much less favorable, although the vote is still too close to call.