Will Massachusetts repeal its income tax?

By Harry Browne

For years people who love liberty have been fighting battles chosen by the advocates of big government.

The politicians and special interests propose some terrible new government program, and we are expected to drop what we’re doing to fight the proposal – tying up our time and money. Even if we defeat the program, we’ve exhausted resources that could have been put to better use. And too much of the time, the proposals succeed in some form – allowing government to grow bigger and causing liberty to retreat even further.

Every once in a while, however, freedom goes on the offensive. And that’s when we should put everything we can into an effort to keep the politicians and special interests on the defensive.

That’s what’s happening in Massachusetts right now.

On Nov. 5, citizens there will vote on whether or not to repeal the state income tax entirely. If the measure passes, the state government will lose $9 billion a year in revenue and will be forced to reduce the budget accordingly.

Not only will the average Massachusetts family have about $3,000 a year more in take-home pay, but it will mean the end of many wasteful, destructive state government programs. It will mean a thriving economy, a freer environment and an inspiration to liberty-lovers everywhere.

Could the state government survive such cuts? If the initiative passes, the government will still have $14 billion a year to play with – almost twice as much as it had in the 1980s when Republicans accused Michael Dukakis of being a spendthrift governor.

How much chance is there that the repeal effort will succeed?

The Boston newspapers have conducted three statewide polls – with support for the repeal ranging from 37 percent to 40 percent.

And that’s with virtually a complete news blackout in newspapers and TV, with opposition from every incumbent politician who has taken a stand, and with editorials uniformly against the initiative.

But Carla Howell, the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate and sponsor of the initiative, is rallying support through a series of TV debates against the head of a “taxpayer” organization. And her committee has raised the money to run full-page ads in the Boston newspapers to explain the initiative.

Fortunately, this is a simple yes-or-no question – not a three-way partisan race in which supporters might jump ship at the last moment to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

Does that mean the initiative will pass?

Perhaps not. I believe it has a chance to win, but obviously the odds are against it.

However, just suppose it garners even 40 percent of the vote. Can you imagine how this might inspire people outside of “Taxachusetts” to take the offensive and propose similar initiatives in their own states?

If 40 percent of the voters in Massachusetts were to choose to repeal the income tax, think how this might inspire activists in states less wedded to big government – places like Arizona, Iowa, Maine or Idaho. It could trigger a wave of offensive actions against big government throughout America.

Meanwhile, as we get closer to election day, and as more people become informed about the chance to take $3,000 a year back from the politicians, big-government proponents in Massachusetts will be forced to waste their resources defending the monstrous state budget.

If ever a proposal deserved the support of people who want smaller government, this initiative is it.

Democratic politicians who love to pose as friends of the “common man” won’t support this.

Republican politicians who rail against “socialized medicine” or other big-government programs won’t support this. They only like to talk against big government – not actually do something about it.

But, thankfully, Libertarians have taken the initiative and put this before the voters – at great cost to themselves.

They could use your help, wherever you are.

You can find out more about it by going to the initiative’s website.