Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon

Friday, May 22, 2015

CLG: 105,000 gallons of oil may have spilled in Santa Barbara County, Israeli settlers reportedly chop down 800 Palestinian olive trees,

Curious that the GOP can find $$$ to Fight Wars, not for Food Stamps of Health Care.

News Updates from CLG
21 May 2015
Previous edition: U.S. ally Saudi Arabia hiring 8 new executioners after 2015 beheadings hit 85
Pentagon sending 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq | 21 May 2015 | The Pentagon announced on Thursday it is sending 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq, following the rout of U.S.-backed forces in Ramadi by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The weapons will arrive as early as next week, said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren. He said the U.S. is also expediting the delivery of other equipment, including ammunition and other equipment to counter ISIS's increasing reliance on vehicle-borne bombs. Within the last 30 days, the U.S. also helped to deliver coalition [US taxpayer-funded] donations of 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and 12,000 mortar rounds to the Iraqi army, Warren said.
Pentagon says US anti-armor weapons due in Iraq next week | 21 May 2015 | An expedited shipment of 2,000 lightweight shoulder-fired weapons intended to help the Iraqi army stop the Islamic State group's increasingly effective use of car bombs [as their handlers in Langley taught them] should arrive in Iraq as soon as next week, the Pentagon said Thursday. The shipment is among a variety of weaponry and equipment the U.S. agreed to send to Iraq on an expedited basis after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Washington in April to plead for more help in fighting the extremists. In an update to the overall cost of U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Syria, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said that as of April 9 the U.S. had spent 2.1 billion since it began bombing in Iraq in August.
Pataki: Send combat troops to fight ISIS | 20 May 2015 | Former Gov. George Pataki, who is expected to launch a presidential bid next week, said Wednesday the U.S. should deploy troops to Iraq to fight ISIS [I-CIA-SIS]. Pataki, a New York Republican, insisted that a deployment of U.S. combat troops would be a limited mission unlike the 2003 American invasion of Iraq -- a war then-President [sic] George W. Bush had insisted would be short-lived...Pataki added that while Americans may be wary of sending troops back into combat the fight against ISIS "is our war." Other likely Republican presidential candidates, like Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Sen. Rick Santorum, have also said they would deploy ground combat troops to fight ISIS -- pledging to send 10,000 American troops.
Jeb Bush blames unrest in Iraq on Obama | 20 May 2015 | Jeb Bush sharply criticized President Barack Obama on Tuesday for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but he declined to say whether he would order additional ground forces into the country to repel Islamic State militants. Speaking to about 60 business and Republican leaders in New Hampshire, the former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate blamed the Democratic president for allowing the rise of the violent extremist group that has captured vast parts of Iraq and Syria. But when asked after his campaign event how he would act to contain the Islamic State group in Iraq if elected president, Bush declined to offer any specifics, saying he would rely on the advice of America's military leaders.
Israeli settlers reportedly chop down 800 Palestinian olive trees | 17 May 2015 | The official Palestinian news agency is reporting that Israeli settlers have chopped down and seized about 800 Palestinian-owned olive trees near the town of Shuyukh, east of Hebron. The report, by WAFA, the Palestine News & Information Agency, cited "a local source," whom it did not identify. The source, described by WAFA as "a local activist," told the agency that residents of the Israeli settlements of Bani Kadim and Asfar broke into an olive orchard near the town and chopped down the trees, which belonged to people who lived in the area.
Russia stops transit of NATO military cargo to Afghanistan | 20 May 2015 | Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has revoked a decree that allowed delivery of NATO military equipment to Afghanistan through Russian territory. [] According to the official document, signed by Medvedev and published on Monday, all previous decisions on NATO cargo transit to Afghanistan have now been revoked. This includes an act allowing delivery of military hardware and equipment via rail, motor vehicles, or through Russian airspace.
Ukraine Regime Open to Hosting Missile-Defense System | 20 May 2015 | Ukraine is open to considering proposals to place a ballistic missile-defense system on its territory to ward off the risk of attacks from Russia, a senior Ukrainian defense official said Wednesday. Oleksandr Turchynov, the head of Ukraine's National Security Council, told Ukrinform news agency in an interview that Russia has become an increased threat since annexing [sic - reunifying] the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and increasing its military presence there [after the US poured billions into the illegitimate Ukrainian far-right dictatorship, which commits war crimes on a daily basis]. Russian news agencies cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying Wednesday that the deployment of a missile-defense system in Ukraine would force Russia to adopt countermeasures.
Poland pays $250,000 to victims of CIA rendition and torture | 15 May 2015 | Poland is paying a quarter of a million dollars to two terror suspects tortured by the CIA in a secret facility in this country - prompting outrage among many here who feel they are being punished for American wrongdoing. Europe's top human rights court imposed the penalty against Poland, setting a Saturday deadline. So far no US officials have been held accountable, but the European court of human rights has shown that it does not want to let European powers that helped the programme off the hook. The court also ordered Macedonia in 2012 to pay 60,000 Euros (68,000/43,000 pounds) to a Lebanese-German man who was seized in Macedonia on erroneous suspicion of terrorist ties and subjected to abuse by the CIA.
US declassifies Osama Bin Laden compound documents (just in time for vote on renewal of Patriot Act) | 20 May 2015 | US intelligence agencies have declassified more than 100 documents seized in the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound that ended the Al-Qaeda[al-CIAduh]'s leader's life. "Today the ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) released a sizeable tranche of documents recovered during the raid," Jeff Anchukaitis, spokesman for the ODNI, said. Hunkered down in his Pakistani compound, Osama bin Laden pleaded with his followers to stay focused on attacking the United States instead of being dragged into Muslim infighting. "The focus should be on killing and fighting the American people and their representatives," Bin Laden wrote in one of the newly revealed documents.
Holy coincidence, Batman! Just as the Patriot Act is up for renewal: Bin Laden bent on spectacular US attack until the end - files | 20 May 2015 | Hunkered down in his Pakistani compound, Osama bin Laden pleaded with his followers to stay focused on attacking the United States instead of being dragged into Muslim infighting. "The focus should be on killing and fighting the American people and their representatives," Bin Laden wrote in one of the newly revealed documents. US intelligence agencies have now declassified more than 100 of these documents taken from Bin Laden's archive, after lawmakers ordered the move and critics accused the CIA of withholding material.
Rand Paul ends marathon filibuster but fails to block Patriot Act | 21 May 2015 | Two years after rising to national prominence with a 13-hour talking filibuster against drones, Rand Paul has made another marathon speech on the floor of the US Senate -- only this time in a bid to halt the federal government's mass surveillance of Americans' phone records and to derail an extension of the Patriot Act. Paul spent a total of 10 hours and 30 minutes on Wednesday calling for an end to the National Security Agency's dragnet surveillance tactics, eating up one of just three legislative days remaining before lawmakers go on recess till 1 June -- the same day that key provisions of the Patriot Act are due to expire.
Abbott using 'terrorism' as a cover for implementing more austerity measures: Tough anti-terrorism measures could strip suspects of welfare, vote | 21 May 2015 | Terrorists would lose their welfare payments and the right to vote, and the citizenship oath would be toughened up, under a raft of anti-terrorism measures being considered by the Abbott Government. The Herald Sun understands the Government will soon introduce laws to strip Australian citizenship from dual nationals who are committing terrorism offences. And further measures are being considered to combat Australians who fight alongside terror groups such as Islamic State, or support them by fundraising or recruiting. They include restricting their rights to an Australian passport, banning them from voting, and refusing them access to Medicare, the dole and any other welfare.
I've Read Obama's Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned. | 19 May 2015 | "You need to tell me what's wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago," a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He's right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That's by design--anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents...So-called "cleared advisors" like me are prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we've lodged about specific proposals and approaches. The government has created a perfect Catch 22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we've seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific.
Five big banks face criminal charges and $6b fine over currency rigging --JPMorgan and Citigroup would be the first major US banks to plead guilty to criminal charges in decades. | 20 May 2015 | Five of the world's biggest banks are expected to be hit with a combined bill of more than US5 billion (6.3 billion) and criminal charges on Wednesday in a settlement with US and British authorities over rigging of currency markets. US banks JPMorgan and Citigroup and Britain's Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are expected to plead guilty to criminal charges with the US Department of Justice related to forex manipulation, people familiar with the matter said. It would be unprecedented for the parent companies or main banking arms of so many major banks to plead guilty to criminal charges in a coordinated action.
UBS to pay $545m to US authorities over forex and Libor scandals | 20 May 2015 | UBS will pay a total of 545m to US authorities to settle allegations that arose in an investigation into the rigging of foreign exchange and Libor benchmarks. The Swiss bank will be hoping the payment draws a line under multiple trading scandals lasting several years. The fine, much lower than expected, includes a 342m Federal Reserve penalty related to forex activities, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday. It will not be paying a fine on forex to the Department of Justice and will not face criminal charges on the matter.
Wave of medical police state refugees to flee California if SB 277 signed into law | 20 May 2015 | California will be the origin of America's first wave of medical police state refugees fleeing medical tyranny if Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 277 into law. SB 277 is California's pharma-funded vaccine assault on all parents and children. It would eliminate all personal belief exemptions and force nearly all children in California to be forcibly injected with vaccines that are knowingly manufactured with neurotoxic substances such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde and MSG. If he signs the law, Gov. Brown will be declaring medical genocide against children whose genetic makeup causes them to have extremely heightened risks to vaccine injury. No child will be safe in California, and the state will cement its position as the first real-life medical police state in America, where risks of a medical civil war skyrocket.
4 U.S. Cancer Charities Accused of Fraud by Bilking $187M From Consumers | 19 May 2015 | Four cancer charities and their operators have been charged with shamefully bilking 187 million from consumers, the Federal Trade Commission announced today. According to the FTC, which worked in conjunction with all 50 states, donors were told that their donations would help cancer patients. "Those were outright lies," said Jessica Rich of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. The charities included in the federal court complaint brought by the FTC and all 50 states are Cancer Fund of America in Knoxville, Tennessee; Cancer Support Services, also in Knoxville; The Children's Cancer Fund of America in Powell, Tennessee; and the Breast Cancer Society in Mesa, Arizona.
This Antarctic ice shelf could collapse by 2020, NASA says | 15 May 2015 | It has been a really bad week for the ice shelves of the quickly warming Antarctic peninsula, the part of the vast frozen continent that extends northward toward South America. Earlier this week, we learned that the gigantic marine-based Larsen C ice shelf, which is almost as big as Scotland, has several worrisome vulnerabilities -- including a growing rift across it. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and several other research centers say this could pose an "imminent risk" to its stability. And now, NASA scientists are giving an even worse verdict for the remnants of the nearby Larsen B ice shelf, much of which already disintegrated back in 2002. Back then, the shelf lost a region larger than Rhode Island, but there are still 618 square miles left of it -- for now.
105,000 gallons of oil may have spilled in Santa Barbara County --The 24-inch wide pipeline was installed in 1987 [because there are few regulations in the corporate-owned cesspool aka the US]. | 20 May 21015 | (CA) The operator of an underground pipeline that ruptured and released up to 105,000 gallons of crude oil in Santa Barbara County -- and tens of thousands of gallons into the ocean -- said Wednesday that the spill happened after a series of mechanical problems caused the line to be shut down. The problems began about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday at two pump stations that move oil through the 11-mile pipeline along the Gaviota Coast, Rick McMichael, director of pipeline operations for Plains All American Pipeline, said at a news conference.
Ruptured pipeline spills 21,000 gallons of oil on California coast --Plains All American Pipeline responsible for 24-inch (61- cm) pipeline - U.S. Coast Guard | 19 May 2015 | A pipeline ruptured along the scenic California coastline on Tuesday, spilling some 21,000 gallons (79,000 liters) of oil into the ocean and on beaches before it could be secured, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said. The pipeline, which runs parallel to Highway 101 near Santa Barbara, left a slick extending about four miles (6.4 km) along Refugio State Beach, extending about 50 yards (46 meters) into the water, Petty Officer Andrea Anderson of the Coast Guard said.
Gov. Christie loses his marbles on national TV (Star-Ledger Editorial Board) | 19 May 2015 | For months, we have wondered how Gov. Chris Christie thinks he can win the presidency when New Jersey is in such rotten shape after his six years in office. Now we may have our answer: The man has lost touch with reality. In a national TV interview Monday, Christie was asked to explain why 65 percent of New Jersey voters think he'd make a bad president. His answer: We love him so much that we want him to remain our governor. "They want me to stay," he told Megyn Kelly of Fox News."
Six Baltimore police officers indicted in death of Freddie Gray | 21 May 2015 | Six Baltimore police officers were indicted Thursday in connection with the April death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who suffered a fatal spine injury while in police custody, touching off a wave of protests and riots across parts of the city. The expected grand jury action leaves the most significant charges in the case unchanged, and moves the case from the lower District Court and into Circuit Court. The officers, each of whom faces multiple counts, now also face a charge of reckless endangerment, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said at a press conference Thursday.
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RSN: Pipeline Operator in California Spill Reportedly Had History of Infractions, Who Goes to Jail? American Injustice Gap From Wall Street to Main Street

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Andy Borowitz | Biker-Brawl Suspects Only Slightly Outnumber Republican Candidates
uspects in the recent biker brawl in Waco, Texas.  (photo: McLennan Country Sheriff's)
Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
Borowitz writes: "Suspects in the recent biker brawl in Waco, Texas, only slightly outnumber the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates, leading some voters to have difficulty distinguishing between the two groups, a new poll shows."
NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones
Ryan Gallagher, The Intercept
Gallagher writes: "The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals."
Matt Taibbi: Who Goes to Jail? American Injustice Gap From Wall Street to Main Street
Democracy NOW!
Excerpt: "Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale."
Walmart's Leaked Anti-Union Training Video: This Isn't About You
Ashley Feinberg, Gawker
Feinberg writes: "Walmart comes with a rich and storied history of anti-union propaganda, but this is one of the first times we've seen an actual training video to that effect. And in light of the rumors swirling around about Walmart's union-busting shutdowns, the company's party lines hit hard."
Two DEA Agents Ran New Jersey's Sleaziest Strip Club
M.L. Nestel, The Daily Beast
Nestel writes: "Once Drug Enforcement Agency employees Glen Glover and David Polos appeared before a judge, the damning charges against them were spelled out: how they both allegedly failed to mention under oath to the federal government that they had any part as owners and managers of this seedy jiggle joint; how they employed women who were not legally permitted to work in the United States; how these women performed sex acts in exchange for money at the club."
McDonald's Workers Descend on Headquarters to Protest 'Poverty Wages'
Rupert Neate, Guardian UK
Neate writes: "Thousands of McDonald's employees and union activists descended on the company's headquarters near Chicago on Thursday to hold the biggest ever protest against 'poverty wages' paid to most of its 400,000 employees, as the company's board gathered for its annual shareholder meeting."
Pipeline Operator in California Spill Reportedly Had History of Infractions
Scott Neuman, NPR
Neuman writes: "The Texas-based company responsible for the undersea pipeline that has leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the sea near the coast at Goleta, Calif., has a history of federal safety violations, The Los Angeles Times reports."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

RSN: The US Government Told Me Bin Laden Read My Book. But What Is It Not Telling Us?

Greg Palast has always been a special favorite and if you haven't read his books, you've missed great insight.

He explained the Folly of Trickle Down before it was on your radar screen:

Tinker Bell Pinochet and the Fairy Tale Miracle of Chile

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FOCUS: Greg Palast | The US Government Told Me Bin Laden Read My Book. But What Is It Not Telling Us?
Greg Palast. (photo: Zach D. Roberts)
Greg Palast, Guardian UK
Palast writes: "I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week - but I'm still angry that he gave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because he never friended me on Facebook."

RSN: Business Groups Jockeying to Influence New EPA Water Regulations, Israel Suspends Plans to Segregate Palestinians on Buses,

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Charles Pierce | Our Mr. Brooks: How Humility Insists on Deceit
David Brooks. (photo: Bryan Bedder/The New York Times)
Charles Pierce, Esquire
Pierce writes: "It seems that Brooks has noticed that people are talking again about the war for which he so enthusiastically shook his moneymaker back during the Avignon Presidency. So, naturally, it's time for a Professor of Humbleology to cover his own sad-sack ass."
Nebraska Lawmakers Vote to Repeal Death Penalty, Veto Expected
Ed Payne, CNN
Payne writes: "The Nebraska legislature has passed a bill to repeal the state's death penalty and replace it with life without parole. The measure, which passed Wednesday on a 32-15 vote, faces a promised veto from Gov. Pete Ricketts."
Senator Rand Paul Stages 'Filibuster' to Protest Patriot Act
Scott Neuman, NPR
Neuman writes: "Protesting the soon-to-expire Patriot Act, presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul held the floor of the Senate for 11 hours late Wednesday in a filibuster-like speech railing against the law and the government's continued surveillance of Americans' phone records."
Hundreds of Tech Companies Line Up to Oppose TPP Trade Agreement
Sam Thielman, Guardian UK
Thielman writes: "More than 250 tech companies have signed a letter demanding greater transparency from Congress and decrying the broad regulatory language in leaked parts of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill."
Israel Suspends Plans to Segregate Palestinians on Buses
Barak Ravid and Chaim Levinson, Haaretz
Excerpt: "President Reuven Rivlin welcomed the suspension of a move that 'could have led to an unthinkable separation between bus lines for Jews and Arabs.'"
Boko Haram Raped and Intentionally Impregnated Hundreds of Female Captives in Nigeria
Adam Nossiter, The New York Times
Nossiter writes: "Hundreds of women and girls captured by Boko Haram have been raped, many repeatedly, in what officials and relief workers describe as a deliberate strategy to dominate rural residents and possibly even create a new generation of Islamist militants in Nigeria."
Business Groups Jockeying to Influence New EPA Water Regulations
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Cama writes: "More than 100 advocates representing dozens of industry groups, companies and environmental organizations are flocking to the White House in a last-ditch effort to influence controversial regulations that would redefine the reach of the federal government's water pollution enforcement."

RSN: Robert Reich | The Revolt of Small Business Republicans

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Reader Supported News | 21 May 15
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FOCUS: Robert Reich | The Revolt of Small Business Republicans
Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
Reich writes: "Can it be that America's small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they're being screwed by big businesses?"

RSN: Protesters Block Access to Shell Oil Rig at Seattle Port, After 'Religious Freedom' Bill Fails, Louisiana Governor Promises Identical Executive Order, Bernie Sanders: 'Problems Today May Well Be More Severe Than Great Depression'

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Bernie Sanders: 'Problems Today May Well Be More Severe Than Great Depression'
Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
Bernie Sanders, PBS
Sanders writes: "I worry very much that we have a billionaire class now which has enormous power not only over our economy, but over our political system as well."
After 'Religious Freedom' Bill Fails, Louisiana Governor Promises Identical Executive Order
Zack Ford, ThinkProgress
Ford writes: "Jindal, who just formed his 2016 presidential exploratory committee this week, will essentially be issuing a state endorsement of anti-gay discrimination."
Columbia Rape Accuser Takes Mattress to Graduation
The Daily Beast
Excerpt: "Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University senior who made national news for carrying a mattress to protest the school's handling of her alleged sexual assault, walked across the stage with her mattress at graduation Tuesday."
How Abortion Providers Are 'Living in the Crosshairs'
Tara Murtha, Rolling Stone
Murtha writes: "Eight abortion doctors have been murdered by 'pro-life' terrorists since 1993."
Remembering Malcolm X on His 90th Birthday
Democracy Now
Excerpt: "Ninety years ago today, on May 19, 1925, Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska."
How Scientists Debunked the Biggest Anti-Gay-Marriage Study
New York Magazine, Jesse Singal
Singal writes: "When Social Science Research published a study called 'How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study' back in 2012, it sparked immediate controversy."
Protesters Block Access to Shell Oil Rig at Seattle Port
Al Jazeera America
Excerpt: "Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Port of Seattle on Monday to block oil workers' access to a Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig temporarily docked there on its journey to the Arctic, where it will be used to resume exploration for oil and gas reserves."

Senate widens tax break for low-income families

Senate widens tax break for low-income families
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 9:55 pm
BOSTON — Efforts to expand a popular tax credit found new life on Beacon Hill on Tuesday, even as lawmakers rejected an attempt to reduce the personal income tax rate.
A proposal by Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, increases the reach of the state’s earned income tax credit, which allows households earning less than $52,427 to claim 15 percent of what they received on federal returns on their state taxes.
Rodrigues’ plan freezes the income tax rate at 5.15 percent to cover the estimated $145 million cost.
Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who took office in January, had proposed doubling the tax credit that benefits nearly 400,000 filers by scrapping a film production tax credit. But lawmakers rejected that idea.
The plan approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate on Tuesday increases the earned income tax credit by 50 percent to 22.5 percent of the federal earned income tax break over the next three years.
“We’re investing in our workers,” said Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton. “This will help the working class, the people who get up every day and fight to make a living, many whom work two jobs just to make end meet.”
The Senate’s 29 to 11 vote went largely along party lines, with Democrats — including Sens. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, Kathleen O’Connor-Ives, D-Newburyport and Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, supporting the measure.
Meanwhile the Senate rejected a Republican proposal championed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr to roll back the personal income tax rate to 5 percent by 2017.
Tarr’s plan reduced the tax rate to a level approved by voters 15 years ago. His was one of nearly 1,000 proposed amendments to the Senate’s $38 billion spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1. The budget debate got underway in the Senate on Tuesday.
Tarr, whose proposal was backed by other Republicans, said Democrats have repeatedly failed to honor a voter referendum, which passed overwhelmingly in 2000, by declining to lower the personal income tax.
“We need to honor the will of the voters,” he said. “They’ve waited long enough.”
Two years after the vote, legislators froze the rollback at 5.3 percent and added a mechanism allowing the rate to fall only if growth in annual revenues met certain benchmarks. The income tax has since trickled to the current 5.15 percent.
Rollback supporters have blasted lawmakers for defying voters.
Dropping further to 5 percent would mean a $500 million hit to the state, according to the Department of Revenue. The most recent drop in the income tax, from 5.2 to 5.15 percent, reduces collections in the next fiscal year by $145 million.
Some suggested the Senate’s move leaves the state open to legal challenges.
“If their agenda is to tax some citizens more in order to tax other citizens less, this makes it clear that legislators are using the personal exemption to effectively graduate the income tax, which is unconstitutional,” said Barbara Anderson, president of Citizens for Limited Taxation, a Marblehead-based group that advocated the 2000 ballot initiative.
Baker has said he’s willing to consider other ways to expand the earned income tax credit, but it wasn’t clear Tuesday if he supported freezing the income tax rate as a means of doing it.
“The governor favors reducing the tax burden on all Massachusetts families and believes the best way to pay for his plan to boost support for low-income workers is by phasing out subsidies for Hollywood movie producers,” Baker spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton said in a statement.
The measure still needs approval from the House of Representatives, which didn’t propose any expansion of the earned income credit.
Lawmakers who supported freezing the income tax rate to pay for expanding the earned income credit pointed out that changes to personal exemptions, also included in the amendment, means the average taxpayers won’t pay more.
“This isn’t a welfare supplement, these are hard-working people,” said Sen. Rodrigues said ahead of Tuesday’s vote. “Every taxpayer will pay less, even if they don’t qualify for the earned income tax credit.”
Christian Wade covers the Statehouse for CNHI’s Massachusetts newspapers. Reach him at