Income tax referendum
: Radley Balko
writes at Fox.com about the upcoming Massachusetts referendum that would eliminate the state’s income tax -- and how it might do surprisingly well, largely because of voter dissatisfaction with the major gubernatorial candidates. Balko is definitely on to something.
The fact is Question 1 has received little or no mention in major media outlets in recent weeks. The last time Hub Blog noticed, the anti-income tax measure was pulling in anywhere from 30 percent to 40 percent, i.e. it has a heck of a lot more support than Green candidate Jill Stein could ever hope to garner. But there’s been no media coverage. No street buzz. No nothing. There’s just this eerie sense that it’s somewhere “out there,” lurking like a phantom west of I-495. The referendum is easily dismissed because it seems so absurd, so fantastic, so radical to the Boston establishment. But ... but then there are those polls. Instapundit
, which first tipped me off to Balko’s column, wrote: “I don't expect that this will pass, but if it even gets double-digits in Massachusetts, of all places, it'll be the political event of the season.”
Hub Blog’s hunch is that it will easily -- easily -- get double-digit support in November. That’s almost an automatic assumption in any state, including Massachusetts, which, by the way, does have a history of tax revolts, as Balko mentions. (The most recent is Proposition 2 1/2, the anti-property tax measure that was passed in the ‘80s and is still solidly in place in Massachusetts.) OK, maybe there will be an “anti-tax” backlash in two weeks. But here are some of the other underlying reasons why I think Question 1 could do better than anticipated (i.e. stay within that 30-40 percent margin, if not higher): A.)
(And the list could go on. This is just one week’s worth of typical slop in the commonwealth.) The image of Massachusetts, outside of our dear state, is of Harvard, of MIT, of all the college students, faculty members and pretty campuses, of Cambridge, of liberal snobs, of an intellectual elite with all their bow ties. No, the reality is the R. Emmet Hayes and ‘Travs’
of the commonwealth. The reality is not the taxes. It’s not about lack of taxes. It’s about an old-fashioned, unresponsive, Daley-like machine on Beacon Hill -- and the level of disgust among voters. Most people outside Massachusetts don't even know that this machine exists. They have the old "only in Massachusetts" image of the state as being hyper-liberal. They forget, or never knew, that Ronald Reagan carried Massachusetts in the '80 and '84 presidential elections, and that the last three gubernatorial elections have been won by Republicans. But the Dem-controlled machine on Beacon Hill still thrives -- and Republicans
end up acting just like them when they do get elected. This is what many people will be voting against if they vote for Question 1, Hub Blog suspects.
Hub Blog’s prediction: Question 1’s strength on election day depends on the inept Mitt Romney. If he falters (as it looks like he will), then look for a lot of angry protest votes in favor of Question 1. The question will still likely lose -- but it will definitely get far more votes than Jill Stein, the official Bread & Circus candidate.
: Hub Blog initially posted a different version of this blog last night. This morning, after I reread it, I didn't like what I wrote, and made some changes. So if you read an earlier version of this and wonder what happened, well, you're not crazy.