October 23, 2002

RADLEY BALKO WRITES about a ballot initiative that hasn’t gotten much attention (though it’s been blogged here a time or two):

Massachusetts voters face a rare opportunity this election cycle. There is, believe it or not, an issue on the ballot that would dramatically reduce the scope and size of the Bay State’s government. The Small Government Act, “Ballot Initiative 1,” would end the state’s income tax.

Just like that.

Overnight, government officials would have no choice but to jettison bureaucratic waste. Beacon Hill legislators would be forced to make tough decisions about what state programs are absolutely necessary and what programs are extraneous. The measure would eliminate pork spending, corporate welfare and wasteful grants to well-connected research groups, all in one fell swoop. . . .

Not surprisingly, because the measure would transfer power from the Massachusetts government to the Massachusetts people, neither candidate for governor supports it. Neither do either of the state’s two major political parties. No major state officeholder supports it. And, here’s a shocker: Few if any of the state’s most powerful interest groups support it.

Nevertheless, the measure is polling at about 40 percent, a remarkable number given the state’s leftist political proclivities. But now that the measure carries some small chance of passing, big government advocates are amassing troops and funds to ensure its defeat.

I don’t expect that this will pass, but if it even gets double-digits in Massachussetts, of all places, it’ll be the political event of the season. Bet it won’t get much attention, though.

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