Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tax hikes are a tough sell? Duh

In Mass HT: TWR

As homeowners across the region struggle to balance their checkbooks, municipal leaders are leery of asking them to shoulder higher tax bills to help balance their communities' finances, especially in cities and towns where proposed increases were resoundingly defeated last year.

"I get a sense of a more hunkering down across the board this year than in past years," said John Robertson, a deputy director at the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which is tracking tax increase proposals statewide.

"I think ultimately it will be a tough year to win increases," he said.

In Main:

AUGUSTA — The Legislature is in the process of reviewing some tough cuts proposed by Governor John Baldacci to fill a $190 million hole in the budget.

The temptation to raise taxes, however, appears to be a non-starter in the Senate, where several Democrats are joining with their Republican colleagues and saying “no.”

“No. Period,” said Sen. Bill Diamond (D-Cumberland County), when asked if he would vote for a tax increase to help balance the budget.

Sen. John Nutting (D-Androscoggin County) had a similar response, adding he might support a few fee increases, but no serious tax hikes.

“I can’t vote for new taxes when there’s fat in the budget,” Nutting said, using the opportunity to take another shot at Governor John Baldacci for not cutting what he calls “political appointees.”

“What are the Governor’s priorities?” Nutting asked. “He’s protecting political appointees at the expense of the most vulnerable.”