2010 Ballot Initiative to Roll Back the Massachusetts Sales Tax from 6.25% to 3%

The Roll Back Taxes ballot measure (“Question 3”) was a 2010 citizen initiative in Massachusetts (U.S.A.) to roll back the state sales tax. It was the boldest and most serious threat to high taxes anywhere in America in 2010.

If Roll Back Taxes had passed, it would have:

  • created over 27,000 NEW Private Sector JOBS!
  • given back an average of $688 – every year – to each taxpayer. An average of over $900 per family. Every year.
  • forced state politicians to cut government waste.
  • kept shoppers in Massachusetts– instead of driving them to New Hampshire’s 0% sales tax.
  • attracted international shoppers as well as those from bordering states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and New York. Another boost for Massachusetts Retailers and shoppers.

So close…

Question 3 was ahead in the polls (54%) in August of 2010. But the grassroots campaign had just a tiny ad budget, while the opposition saturated the airwaves with ominous TV, radio, and Internet ads warning of “decimation” if the tax cut passed. They also teamed with Democratic incumbents to conduct a massive get-out-the-vote campaign against the initiative, driving those who were unsure to vote No.

Despite a $4.5 million campaign by the Teachers Union to defeat it, and despite Massachusetts being among the biggest of Big Government states, nearly one million voters (43% of the vote) said Yes to cutting the state sales tax in half.

Four Massachusetts legislators were elected in 2010 (three newly elected, one incumbent) who pledged their support of rolling back the sales tax to 3%:

  • Representatives Dan Webster (6th Plymouth)
  • Ryan Fattman (18th Worcester)
  • Steven Levy (4th Middlesex)
  • Geoff Diehl (7th Plymouth)

Question 3 changed the conversation from more Big Government to less

Question 3 was the most talked-about issue in the 2010 Massachusetts election. It was the lead issue discussed in gubernatorial debates and a frequent topic on talk radio. Voters across the state discussed the possibility of cutting the sales tax with their friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers.

The 2010 election in Massachusetts was a rare opportunity for taxpayers to seriously challenge the Big Government status quo. It would have taken $2.34 billion out of the coffers of Big Government and returned that money to the taxpayers who earned it – every year.

Learn more about Question 3:

Frequently asked questions
Where to cut spending
About the Alliance to Roll Back Taxes

For more bold, small government ideas and proposals, visit the web site of the initiative’s sponsors: the Center For Small Government.

No Federal Bailouts for State or Local Governments

An Open Letter to the 242 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives
From Michael Cloud and Carla Howell
The Center For Small Government

Hooray! Treasurer-elect Grossman puts state checkbook online

After being elected Treasurer in November 2010, Democrat Steve Grossman announced he will fulfill one of his key campaign promises: Grossman to put state checkbook online Grossman ran on government financial transparency after one of Question 3’s sponsors, Kamal Jain, rain on the issue in his 2010 campaign for auditor. Spokespersons for Question 3 also […]

A Big Thank You to YES on 3 Supporters

Thank you to the approximately 965,000 voters of Massachusetts who voted YES on 3. This was our highest vote total ever, despite heavily-funded opposition. A very special thanks to every one of you who rolled up your sleeves and helped. Who donated. Who helped collect 111,000 petition signatures and did other critical volunteer work. Who […]

Economists Give ‘Thumbs Up’ to Question 3

“Ballot Question 3 would create 27,199 more private sector jobs…Increased competitiveness and the demand for labor would result in a $73.50 million increase in annual investment, while gross wages would increase by $1.03 billion.”

– Research findings by independent Economists at the Beacon Hill Institute

The Shameful Greed of the Teachers Unions

Despite claims of “painful cuts,” spending on K-12 schools in Massachusetts has gone up every year during this recession. More school spending, more hiring, pay increases and bigger benefits – in the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Are they really doing what’s best for your children? Or what’s best for the Teachers Unions?

YES on 3 is a Great Deal for Cities and Towns – and You!

The opponents of Question 3 are threatening that, if it passed, the legislature would be forced to cut subsidies to local cities and towns. This is merely a scare tactic to get you to vote No.

But what if they did cut local aid? How would your town – and your family – fare?

Gloucester Times: Vote ‘yes’ on Question 3

Gloucester Times Massachusetts voters will have a chance in Tuesday’s election to finally put the brakes on the unrelenting appetite of elected officials for tax increases. And despite many state and local officials’ hue and cry to the contrary, voters should seize this landmark opportunity. Question 3 would mandate a cut in the sales tax […]

USA Today features YES on 3 on Front Page

USA Today headline story of today (10/18/10) features Massachusetts ballot Question 3 to roll back the sales tax to 3% : http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-10-18-1Atax18_ST_N.htm “Carla Howell, chairwoman of the Alliance to Roll Back Taxes, hopes the Massachusetts vote will start a national movement to cut sales taxes, just as California’s Proposition 13, which cut property taxes and […]

How much does the state government spend every year?

$52 billion in total state spending according to the Massachusetts audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2009 published by the Comptroller of the Commonwealth. That’s on top of another $22 billion that the cities and towns spend, which is paid for by your local taxes. That’s $74 billion total, or about $21,765 per Massachusetts […]

National Taxpayers Union Endorses YES on 3

The National Taxpayers Union released their 2010 Ballot Guide, a comprehensive catalog of about 100 statewide and almost 460 local ballot measures in 33 states, affecting tax and spending policies that will be decided on November 2, 2010.  NTU gave Ballot Question 3 their highest pro-taxpayer ranking, and highlighted us on the Front Page of […]

Lifelong liberal has had enough of government waste

Lifelong liberal has had enough of government waste!

Boston Herald Endorses YES on 3

“The predictions of doom and disaster are well underway…predicting the end of civilization as we know it…Count us in the Yes on Question 3 camp…The state spends too much!…enough already!…Taxpayers and voters are just fed up with lawmakers who listen more to special interests, more to public employee unions, more to advocates than to those […]

Massachusetts ‘Taxpayers’ Foundation’s Attack on Question 3

A group that regularly defends high taxes and high state government spending, once again, issued a “report” loaded with the usual doom-and-gloom threats if Question 3 passes and we roll back the sales tax to 3%. But who are they? The Massachusetts “Taxpayer” Foundation is an Orwellian name con. To be honest and accurate, they […]

Listen to Carla Howell on Howie Carr

Scroll ahead to 2:27 to hear Carla Howell interviewed by Howie Carr: http://audio.wrko.com/m/audio/31981559/carla-howell-on-the-sales-tax.htm

Governor Patrick Pledges to Support People’s Choice to Roll Back Sales Tax to 3%

Perhaps Gov. Patrick’s campaign advisors have told him he better tell voters that, even if he doesn’t want to cut taxes, he won’t stand in their way. He just announced that he will uphold the will of the people if we vote YES on Question 3 to Roll Back the Sales Tax passes this November. […]

Emerging Controversy: Private-Sector Unemployment VS. Government-Sector Unemployment

Despite yelps and howls over alleged “painful cuts” in the government sector, government workers have been relatively unscathed by the current recession. Private sector workers have had to bear almost the entire brunt of job losses: Why Don’t Politicians Really Care About Unemployment? by Michael Cloud The Government Unemployment Rate Is At Least MINUS 30% […]

Where will taxpayers and their families be forced to cut spending if we keep the sales tax at its new high of 6.25%?

Some want to know, “Where will we cut government spending if Question 3 passes?” We present many ideas at this web site for where to cut. But politicians, special interests and the media seem to care only about government. They want this to be the only question you ask. What about the other side of […]

Jump Start the Massachusetts Economy and Create Jobs!

Vote Yes on 3 to Roll Back the Sales Tax to 3% 94,200 Massachusetts workers lost their jobs in 2009. What did Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts state legislature do? They raised the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%. They added new taxes on alcohol, meals, hotels, satellite TV, and telephone poles. They raised […]

Thanks John Kerry for ‘endorsing’ Ballot Question 3, the sales tax roll back to 3%

Well, not exactly an endorsement. But as much help as we can expect the senator to lend Question 3, the ballot initiative to roll back the sales tax to 3%. From the Boston Herald article John Kerry boat flap boon to tax ballot question: “A movement to slash the state sales tax to 3 percent […]

An Open Letter emailed April 28, 2010 to Representative Richard Ross via his campaign web site for State Senate

Rep. Ross is running for State Senate in the Special Election on May 11, 2010 for the Bristol, Norfolk, Middlesex District Dear Representative Ross, As you know, there is a ballot initiative to roll back the sales tax to 3% expected to be on the November 2nd ballot this year. Both the intent of this […]

True Massachusetts Government Transparency: SHOW US THE MONEY

An Open Letter to the Massachusetts State Legislature

Honorable Legislators,

On behalf of the 3,200,000+ taxpayers of Massachusetts,

For the purposes of Massachusetts state government transparency and accountability,

We request that you show us the money: open the books for all Massachusetts State Government income and spending.

Cat’s Out of the Bag: Former Mass. Secretary of Administration and Finance Baker Confirms That State Government Spending Really IS $51 Billion

Finally, a prominent Massachusetts politician goes on record exposing what we have long contended: the state budget is NOT a mere $28.2 billion as politicians routinely claim and as the mainstream media regularly reports. It’s actually $51 billion ($51.8 billion, to be exact). Charlie Baker, a 2010 Republican candidate for governor, who elected governor of […]

Big Government Politicians stick it to private sector workers

Private sector workers in Massachusetts over the past two years (since 2008) are lucky if they did not suffer: a lost job reduced work hours a furlough a pay cut multiple pay cuts going out of business home foreclosure They’re lucky if their job isn’t a whole lot more at risk than it used to […]

Teachers Union Gives Up On Trying to Challenge Our Signatures

The Teachers Union ran a “blocking campaign” to try to convince voters not to sign our Roll Back the Sales Tax petitions — which failed miserably. Apparently, they’ve elected to pass on dumping more money into a fruitless effort to keep us off the ballot by challenging our petition signatures.

Christy Mihos…Major Republican Governor Candidate Endorses, Campaigns For, and Donates to Our Initiative to Roll Back the Sales Tax

Christy Mihos told 50 city and business leaders at the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce that he is working with Carla Howell, of the Alliance to Roll Back Taxes, on a 2010 ballot question that would lower the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.