As this Dispatch will detail, these votes mirror actions taking
place in both conservative and progressive states and localities around
the country. In 2009 and 2010, states have enacted a wide-ranging set
of revenue increases to cope with cumulative 2010 and 2011 deficits of
approximately $375 billion. Although revenue forecasts are improving,
states are still reeling from historic declines in the past year.
What is remarkable is that the anti-tax movement has wracked up such
regular failures in the crisis, as even many state leaders previously
signing "no taxes" pledges have reneged on them. Instead, popular
demand for new revenue to avert budget cuts has driven legislative
movement on progressive tax and budget policy.
Adding to the general public support has been research consistently
showing that progressive revenue increases during a downturn is a better
alternative to cuts in order to promote growth and protect vulnerable
populations suffering during the recession.
Finally, this Dispatch will outline some of the effective
messaging and research to demonstrate to voters that progressive
measures and tax increases are economically sound and go to the programs
they want preserved -- the critical step in the success of revenue
Last week, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed the
Revenues and Expenditures Transparency Act, H
2972, to create a searchable, online database that details state
spending and revenue sources. Lawmakers also approved an amendment to
create greater taxpayer accountability by providing increased
transparency around some business tax credits. As House Chairman of the
Joint Committee on Revenue Rep. Jay Kauffman explains,
"[p]ublic access to the way we raise and spend money is essential,
enabling us to make more-informed decisions for the tax-paying
constituents who elect us to serve on their behalf."
Last Tuesday, Oregonians overwhelmingly approved
two ballot initiatives that ratified legislative action last year to
increase high-end personal income and corporate taxes. The failure of the anti-tax movement in Oregon
is one more in a long stream of right-wing initiatives
rejected by voters at the ballot box. In fact, progressive revenue
generation as part of a balanced approach to addressing state deficits
has been popular with both voters and legislatures for years. This Dispatch
will provide both the facts and messages to debunk opposition to smart
revenue options, while outlining a few of the best revenue approaches
to filling budget holes.