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February 26, 2003


The budgetary strategy announced by Governor Mitt Romney in his “State of the State” speech is a continuation of the fatally flawed approach of protecting tax breaks for the politically connected while undermining vital services, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC). The Coalition claims that the health of communities across the state has already been harmed by cuts of the past two years, and will be seriously compromised by additional cuts and hasty reorganizations being proposed. The newly formed public advocacy group issued a call to legislators to adopt a “fair taxes” alternative to solving the state’s fiscal crisis.

They believe that a fundamental revision of the tax code is needed to provide stable and adequate funding for health care, education, public safety and the environment. They assert that “tax fairness” is essential to restore public trust in the state’s budgetary process.

According to MCHC President Jill Stein “We are in crisis. Serious actions are required. But we are not seeing real solutions emerge from the leadership on Beacon Hill. “

In prepared remarks, Stein commented that “Increased efficiency is a good idea, but this can’t be accomplished with overnight reorganization or across-the-board-cuts. The Governor wants to enact his reorganization in a rush with inadequate study and little input from the vast numbers of people who will be affected. This puts already ailing vital services and quality of life in the Commonwealth at further risk. And there is no convincing evidence that it will resolve the current budget crisis. Overnight reorganization is a euphemism for downgraded services until proven otherwise.”

Stein added “The tax cuts of the past decade delivered over a three and a half billion dollar tax cut largely to our wealthiest citizens. The richest 1% is now contributing only half as much as a percent of their income to state and local revenues as our lowest income citizens are contributing. By asking all to contribute equally to the costs of maintaining our public institutions, we can close the budget gap while protecting our health and higher community values.”

One of the Coalition leaders, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, commented “Thus far, Beacon Hill seems to be protecting a tax system written by special interests while the infrastructure of our communities is dismantled piece by piece. The people of Massachusetts deserve a better solution. And it has to start with a commitment to maintain the vital services that people depend upon. Greater fairness in taxes is a necessary step to providing stable funding for these vital services.”


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