Question 3 on the ballot proposes cutting the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.

As school supporters, we’re voting No on Question 3, and we ask you to do the same. Here’s why:

  • If the sales tax is reduced, Massachusetts will lose $2.5 billion in annual revenue, an amount equal to half the total annual state support for Massachusetts public schools.
  • That loss will almost certainly be passed on to Massachusetts cities and towns, reducing the share of state revenue that we use for police, fire, roads, and schools (Chapter 70). Click here to see one organization’s estimates of how much each of our towns would lose.
  • If Question 3 passes, it will go into effect on January 1, 2011. That means the current FY2011 budget would need a drastic mid-year cut, which almost certainly would be passed on to our towns and schools. When a similar cut to Chapter 70 happened in 2002, Hamilton-Wenham teachers’ hours were cut back, class sizes increased and academic programs were rolled back mid-year, an enormous and upsetting disruption for our school kids.
  • When the state cuts its allocations, we local taxpayers almost always wind up picking up the slack — in the form of higher property taxes, reduced safety personnel, less maintenance of town property, higher user fees, reduced academic offerings and salary cutbacks for both town and school employees.

We’ve had to do all those things already in Hamilton and Wenham. Let’s not make the situation worse, especially not mid-year.
Support Our Schools asks you to make an effort to get to the polls tomorrow and vote No on Question 3.

Other organizations weighing in on Question 3:

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation:

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center:

Massachusetts Municipal Association


Boston Globe Op-Ed

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