Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Owen Broadhurst, Green-Rainbow Party, 3rd Hampden Candidate

Tax Reform
Tax loopholes for lobbying interests, massive cuts in income taxes, and tax breaks for mutual fund companies and defense contractors within the state have resulted in higher property taxes, regressive fees, and an oppressive burden on cities and towns to maintain municipal services and schools. For the sake of all of our communities within the district, the time is now for legislators to work towards basic tax fairness, a lower total tax burden for district voters and families.

Those earning the least now pay the most to maintain state and municipal services. The state can increase revenue by more than 15% while lowering the tax burden for more than 80% of its citizens, but our Democratic legislature would rather try to squeeze blood from a stone. The wealthiest 1% pays only 4.6% of its income in taxes, so why should 80% of the population pay more than 8%? The Commonwealth is starving its communities to provide welfare for Raytheon and Fidelity. Meanwhile, the less one earns, the larger the bite on one’s paycheck through property tax, sales tax, and fees.

Health Care Reform
Monstrous cuts to MassHealth have led to staffing shortages in hospitals and nursing homes, and have an adverse impact on care. The one solution, the sole and only solution, is singlepayer health care. Declining vigilance in infection control, greater falls, and malnourishment in nursing homes is not a fable- but is a fact of life. Single-payer health insurance, higher staffing ratios, and the proposed affordable health care Constitutional amendment must be mandated and implemented immediately for the sake of the most vulnerable, and for the sake of us all. Health care’s a human right. We need affordable, equitably financed health insurance. We require universal coverage. We need a Health Care Trust.
Sustainable Development

The state has a major role to play facilitating community directed sustainable development, but has unfortunately dropped the ball. Town of Agawam voters beat back a major big box shopping complex, and I have urged a retail size cap and the mandating of fiscal impact studies in Agawam. Town of Russell voters are presently in for the fight of their lives against a disastrous new bio-mass power plant proposal. Cities and towns, however, cannot long hold out against the very rending of their social fabric unless the state steps in and assists. We need increased and improved mass transit, tax credits for small local independent enterprise, and discounts on worker compensation insurance for businesses with excellent safety records. We need incentives for locally produced renewable energy, food and agriculture. We need to more speedily process agricultural preservation restriction requests. We must never again faces the likes of the section 548 auction law.

Genuine Democracy, Genuine Transparency
This candidate endorses rule reform in the House, opposes capital punishment, urges real reimbursement rates for providers, supports full reproductive freedoms, urges indexing of the minimum wage to the rate of inflation, and seeks the re-establishment of Clean Elections. "I would oppose informal sessions and unannounced hearings, urge formal session schedules, and insist on formal roll calls. Cities and towns should be restored 100% of lottery revenues, and equitable disbursement of Chapter 70 funds. I support full restoration of funding for family planning, card check neutrality legislation, doubling of the personal and dependent-care income tax exemptions, doubling of the low-income tax credit and rental deduction, raising the state income tax rate to 6%, and lowering the sales tax to 4% with a portion earmarked for cities and towns. "

"I condemn the Jones-Stanley bill, oppose expedited permitting, urge Chapter 40Q’s repeal , and support reform of Chapter 40B to raise the fraction of affordable units, provide real oversight, and keep developers from hiding their profits. I deplore so-called outside sections that shield legislators from accountability, support the program of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, and oppose cost/benefit analysis requirements on environmental and public health agencies. Throughout the months ahead, I shall expound on this program for social and economic justice, democratic oversight and transparency, community based sustainable initiatives, and real tax reform. I look forward to real debate about real issues impacting real lives in our communities."


John said...

We need a Constitutional ammendment to allow a graduated income tax.

John Hosty said...

That sounds like a great idea, but what scale would you use?

John said...

Of the top of my head, I don't know; I would appoint a study commission to find the right rate structure. The key to finding that rate structure is not so simple. Is is tempting to view taxation as a balance sheet, expenses on one side of the ledger and taxes on the other. But the state competes with its neighbors for jobs. Connecticut tops out 5%, Maine at 8.7%,Vermont at 9.3% and New York at 7.7% but all at different income levels so the rate alone is insufficient information. What you have to do is not tax middle to high income people so high as to encourage businesses to start up or move to New York, or Connecticut.

So it seems to me that the formula would be to tax the higher end of the middle class at a rate slightly less than NY, Vermont and Maine, but you'll never beat Connecticut. However I am pretty sure that Connecticut has a higher sales tax.

In general, I like a high income tax with low sales tax, but if we lose our competitiveness then we are cutting our own throat.

Owen R. Broadhurst said...

Check my "Platform" page: I have explored these issues in even more depth. I do not oppose a graduated income tax, but in this Commonwealth I'm all the more concerned about a flat total tax burden.

John, I'm very grateful for this attention you have paid to my campaign!

John said...

Owen, thamks for the comment.

I understand that a graduated tax is not on the table so it is a moot point. The good part about being just a citzen is that I can rant without having to actually have answers.

You are right to focus on total taxation, and not just the income tax. This is where Govenor Romney failed. He promised to balance the budget without raising taxes, but he had his fingers crossed. He didn't raise the income tax but cut local aid to the point where my propery taxes have nearly doubled over the past four years.

John Hosty said...

You are a good man Owen, we need more people like yourself to be involved with politics. I should be thanking you!