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Five things you won’t hear Scott Brown say (i.e. the truth) about his tax record

By Jason A. Stephany, MassUniting

At a noon press conference in Randolph on Tuesday, US Senator Scott Brown delivered what his office claimed would be a “major policy speech” on taxes. To the surprise of few in Massachusetts, Brown’s remarks turned out to be nothing more than the stereotypical, failed tax rhetoric of his Republican colleagues in Washington. More telling were the facts Brown failed to mention about his voting record on taxes. Here are five true statements we didn’t hear from the junior senator in Randolph:

1. “I voted to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.”

Scott Brown voted to filibuster the Creating American Jobs & Ending Offshoring Act, a bill would have ended tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs or build plants and offices offshore to replace American facilities. The vote came as thousands of American workers face impending layoffs while training their replacements from China, India, and elsewhere. (US Senate roll call vote #242, 9/28/10)


2. “I gave $24 billion of your tax dollars to Big Oil.”

In the face of drastic budget cuts, Scott Brown voted three times to give more than $24 billion in taxpayer funds to the oil industry over the next decade. The top five Big Oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell – are amongst the most profitable corporations in the world, posting $137 billion in profits in 2011 alone. (US Senate roll call votes #187 6/15/10; #72, 5/17/11; #63, 3/29/12)


3. “I’d really like to take more money out of your paycheck.”

Scott Brown voted to filibuster legislation to extend the payroll tax cut for working families – holding low and middle income workers hostage to shield the wealthiest Americans from a small surtax on income over $1 million. In effect, Brown cast a deciding vote to raise taxes on 113 million working families. In Massachusetts, the surtax would have affected just 0.6% of taxpayers with an average income of more than $2 million. (US Senate roll call vote #219, 12/1/11)

4. “I support tax breaks for millionaires…just not middle class or low-income families.”

Three times in 2010 and again in 2012, Scott Brown voted to kill measures that would extend tax cuts for the middle class. Like his vote for payroll tax hikes, Brown used the same rationale to justify his votes to raise taxes on middle and low-income families: those making $250,000 to $1 million or more each year shouldn’t have to pay their fair share like the rest of his Massachusetts constituents. (US Senate roll call votes #258 & #259, 12/4/10; #275, 12/15/10; #184, 7/25/12)


5. “I filibustered tax credits and loans that help small businesses grow and create jobs.”

Despite his claims of supporting job creators, Scott Brown repeatedly filibustered and opposed major legislation that helps small businesses grown and create jobs. Brown twice voted to filibuster the Small Business Jobs & Credit Act – a bill that connected growing small businesses to credit through community banks and offered significant tax credits to small firms that create American jobs. When his filibuster failed, Brown voted again to kill the legislation. The Massachusetts Bankers Association stated that failure to act on the bill “would be a missed opportunity that our struggling economy cannot afford.” (US Senate roll call votes #218 & #221, 7/29/10; #237, 9/14/10)


Per usual, Senator Brown took no questions from constituents or reporters, ducking out a back door immediately following his speech. But anyone who takes issue with Brown’s out-of-step voting record on taxes – or any other issue, for that matter – may contact his office at (617) 565-3170.

Senator Scott Brown faces new grassroots backlash on budget stance

Senator out of step with public on tax breaks for large corporations and the super-rich

BOSTON – After recently telling a group of seniors in Brighton that he would prioritize tax breaks for oil companies and the super-rich ahead of programs like Medicare and Social Security, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) has staked out a budget stance that leaves him severely at odds with his constituents and national public opinion. He has also unwittingly triggered a grassroots backlash to his comments, galvanizing a diverse set of Massachusetts advocacy organizations against his position on the hot national budget debate.

Advocates have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, August 17, at Noon, outside Brown’s Boston office to kick off what organizers say will be a vigorous and sustained grassroots and public campaign against the Senator’s controversial budget stance throughout the Congressional recess and super committee process. The groups say they want Brown to take a public position – and weigh in with super committee members – in favor of eliminating Bush era tax handouts for large corporations and the super-rich.

“I am terribly disappointed that Senator Brown would prioritize big oil companies over Medicare and Medicaid,” said Ann Stewart, 87, of Mattapan, MA, President of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council. “It’s aggravating to see him go to such great lengths to defend these ridiculous tax handouts to large corporations and the richest 1%. I know many of them are his big donors, but that shouldn’t make him forget about the seniors and kids who rely on Medicare and Medicaid.”

“We are hoping that Scott Brown will join the rest of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation in supporting a balanced approach to budget negotiations that includes shared sacrifice from large corporations and billionaires – rather than clinging to a misguided stance that hurts low and middle-income families,” said Wilnelia Rivera, Campaigns Director for Neighbor to Neighbor, a statewide organization of low-income families who advocate for economic justice.

According to a number of recent national polls, by nearly a 2 to 1 margin the American public supports withdrawing tax breaks for corporations and super rich individuals in order to help resolve national budget shortfalls. Those findings put Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown squarely at odds with public sentiment as the nation anticipates negotiations by the recently appointed super-committee charged with leading Congressional budget negotiations.

A poll commissioned in part by area healthcare workers concerned about cuts to Medicare and Medicaid shows that margin is likely even wider in Massachusetts, where 74% of respondents recently said they disapprove of Brown’s position against “any revenue increase to help reduce the federal debt – even the elimination of huge tax breaks for the oil industry and companies that send jobs overseas.”

At the August 17 press conference, organizers of the event will debut a massive mobile billboard that will be present at a number of upcoming events attended by Senator Brown, including a GOP fundraiser in Dartmouth Wednesday evening and a Lowell Spinners game on Monday, August 22, where Scott Brown “bobble-head dolls” will be distributed. The truck-mounted billboard reads: “Scott Brown: Listen to the people. We can’t afford the Bush tax handouts to corporations and super rich anymore. Don’t sell out seniors and kids.”

Meanwhile, select groups within the coalition sponsoring Wednesday’s press conference will be kicking off individual advertising and protest actions against Brown’s budget stance in weeks ahead, including radio and newspaper advertising informing the public of Brown’s revenue stance within the budget debate, and pushing him to reconsider.

WHO: Members of the Massachusetts Coalition for a Working Economy including: 1199SEIU Massachusetts • Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association • Coalition for Social Justice/Coalition Against Poverty • Crittenton Women’s Union • Greater Boston Labor Council • Massachusetts Alliance of HUD tenants • Massachusetts Communities Action Network • Massachusetts Jobs with Justice • Massachusetts Teachers Association • Mass Senior Action • MassUniting • MoveOn.Org Greater Boston • National Association of Social Workers • Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts • One Massachusetts • Public Policy Institute • SEIU 509 • SEIU 615 • SEIU State Council • The Grace Team • United Auto Workers Massachusetts State CAP Council • United for a Fair Economy

WHAT: Press conference against Senator Scott Brown’s stance on the national budget debate

WHEN: Wednesday, August 17, Noon

WHERE: Senator Scott Brown’s office at JFK Federal Building (on the side of the building facing City Hall plaza), 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, MA

Local residents barred from questioning Senator Scott Brown

Constituents decry senator’s invite-only “jobs tour”

JAMAICA PLAIN – When aides to US Senator Scott Brown said he would tour the state to interact with constituents on job creation and economic development issues, it wasn’t clear they meant invitation-only private events.

Local residents hoping to discuss key issues with Brown were turned away by security at two events Monday, after being told the events were closed to the public.

Following Brown’s second stop at the VA Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, constituents decried Brown’s invite-only “jobs tour,” questioning why their Senator was unwilling to deviate from the day’s scripted photo opportunities.

“Why are they pretending this is a public conversation about jobs when it isn’t?” asked Teia Searcy, a 29-year old Boston resident. “We came to speak with our senator, but we were kicked out and told the event was closed to the public.”

Other residents expressed disappointment in Brown’s unwillingness to answer even the simplest of questions on his voting record.

“When Scott Brown voted against unemployment aid, I had been out of work for over a year,” said Maria Christina Blanco, who lives just blocks away from the VA Medical Center. “This is the only opportunity I’ve had to ask him why, and I was turned away. We deserve better from our elected officials.”

Brown has yet to host a single public meeting or open forum since he took office February 4, 2010.