Treasurer Cahill proposes tax cuts to grow economy

By Glen Johnson
AP Political Writer / May 11, 2010

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BOSTON—Independent gubernatorial candidate Timothy Cahill wants to give entrepreneurs a three-year tax break if they start small businesses in Massachusetts.

He said Tuesday that he would waive income taxes, unemployment taxes and the sales tax on business expenditures for companies of up to five employees during their first three years.

The state treasurer also called for a capital gain tax cut and restoring the state's income and sales taxes to 5 percent during a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

He said with such measures, the state could replicate the success new owners have had rejuvenating the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and New England Patriots during the past decade.

"We have to start looking, here in Massachusetts, as if we're in a competition, and that competition is with other states," Cahill said. "If we don't see that, we're going to continue to drop."

The treasurer noted the teams have not only gone on to win World Series, NBA Championships and Super Bowls, but also revitalized the areas around where they have played. He noted the rejuvenation around Kenmore Square, Causeway Street and Route 1 in Foxboro. He proposed rebranding Route 128 as "Pioneer Valley" and rekindling it as a high-tech incubator by also extending it along the Massachusetts Turnpike and Interstate 495.

"It's not an accident; leadership does matter. Decisions made by government do matter," he said. "What we've seen with our sports teams is they have leveraged their brand, their franchises, to do other things."

Cahill is a former Democrat running against the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Deval Patrick, and Republican Charles Baker.

Independent candidates have fared poorly in Massachusetts, most recently with independent gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos garnering just 7 percent of the vote in 2006.

Cahill himself is trailing his rivals in recent fundraising. He and his running mate, former state Rep. Paul Loscocco, have a combined $3.4 million in the bank, much of it money Cahill raised during the nearly eight years he has been treasurer. By comparison, Baker has $2.9 million cash on hand, while Patrick has $1.3 million.

Yet both Baker and Patrick have been raising money at a torrid pace this election year. Baker has raised $2.5 million, and Patrick has raised $1.2 million, according to state campaign finance reports. Cahill has raised $580,000.

The treasurer was greeted by a relatively sparse audience for his Chamber remarks. Of the 15 tables in the room, two were bought by the Treasury and the state school building authority it runs. Two others were controlled by the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America, which sponsors the government affairs forum.

Simultaneous with his speech, the Republican Governors Association released a second wave of television and radio ads attacking Cahill. He and Baker both trying to appeal to fiscal conservatives, and Baker's fellow Republicans have been attacking Cahill for the past month, accusing him of overspending as state treasurer and practicing cronyism.

"He's been reckless with our money," says the television spot, which lumps Cahill together with Patrick. "We've already lost four years; we can't afford to lose any more."

Baker is legally prohibited from coordinating with the RGA, but the attacks are similar to his own. Cahill said he wished Baker would urge the RGA to halt the ads, but he took some solace in being their focus.

"If I wasn't doing well, they wouldn't be attacking me," said the treasurer.

Cahill also predicted the ads would not work.

"It didn't work against Scott Brown," he said, referring to the Republican who staged an upset U.S. Senate win in January. "I think people are a little more aware of it."

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