Help stop this disasterous idea!

Vote no on Question 1

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

The State Income Tax Repeal is also known as Massachusetts Question 1. It is an initiated state statute that will appear on the November 4 ballot in our state. Along with the election of a President, Congress and State officials, this question is one of the most important votes that you will make.

As the famous Massachusetts native – Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. stated: “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.” If we want the services that many of us take for granted such as police, fire, education, construction of roads, park land and many more then we need to VOTE NO on this question.

As stated by the Quincy Patriot Ledger in a recent editorial: “It won’t just be the low-income families who will be hurt. The likelihood of standing there watching your $500,000 house burn down next to understaffed firefighters who cannot safely enter the dwelling because of staffing or equipment shortages grows exponentially with the passage of this measure.”

The Worcester Telegram editorial page this month called for a No vote on this question as well. The article stated,:“The fact is, government is best equipped to provide many basic services, including maintaining infrastructure and providing a basic social safety net for seniors, children and the poor…. The impact on local services – public safety, schools, public works an the like – would be dire.”

At stake is eliminating 40% of the state budget. Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget watchdog group said: “The income tax repeal would have a dramatically negative impact on the Massachusetts economy. Essentially, the sponsors of this ballot question are attempting to repeal the 20th century.”

Many groups across the state have joined forces to educate people on the impact of this ballot proposal. If successful the repeal could eliminate $12 BILLION in revenue or as stated $40% of the budget. Groups such as AARP, Stand for Children, Labor, Educational Organizations, Massachusetts Association on Aging, League of Women’s Voters and hundreds of other groups have joined forces to urge voters to vote NO.

Keep in mind that virtually every public service provided by the state and local governments would be affected. Health care, human services, environmental protection, public health programs, services for the elderly and the disabled, police and fire protection, the court system, libraries, community revitalization projects – all will have to be reduced.

In September the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners voted the following statement:

“Be it resolved that as the primary stewards of library service for all residents of the Commonwealth, the Board of Library Commissioners opposes Question 1 on the basis that its enactment would have a severe impact on all types of libraries in Massachusetts and would result especially in an overwhelming destructive loss of public library services that are fundamental to the educational, social and economic well-being of all residents of the Commonwealth.”

City Council and School Committee have gone on record opposing the ballot question because of the impact that it would have on our city. State representatives and state senators from both parties are urging the districts to vote NO on this ballot question. Early this month at a Board of Selectmen meeting in Holden, Republican State Representative Lewis Evangelidis and State Senator Harriet Chandler addressed the Holden selectmen about the ramifications to the town if this question passed. State Senator Chandler implored the group to think about what happens to the elderly, those in need and the most vulnerable of our society. They are the “consequences” of Question l, if passed.

As a Worcester School Committee member and a former Belmont Community principal, I know firsthand that our school system has absorbed significant cuts in state funding since 2002. Communities need to think about the future of our children and realize that the future of this community depends on an educated work force. Your future and the future of the next generation will depend on how well we educate our children.

Finally, consider this – a repeal of the state income tax may do the following:

• Put education at risk with larger class sizes, fewer after-school programs, more school closings and lack of resources and materials

• Put health care at risk for seniors, working families and people with disabilities

• Put public safety at risk with fewer emergency response personnel, longer 911 wait time and fewer police officers and firefighters

• Put the state’s infrastructure at risk with unsafe bridges, broken roads and more potholes and cuts in service to public transportation

Please! Let’s do the right thing. On November 4 let’s say NO to this reckless proposal.