Massachusetts – Barbara Anderson died last Friday after battling Leukemia for months. She led a movement that limited taxation in her state back in the 80’s. She strongly believed that some taxes are necessary and just, but they need to have a limit to protect the common citizen. She encouraged people to get involved and work together to protect their commonwealth.

Taxation has always been a delicate topic in the United States. Robert Kiyosaki, a famous entrepreneur, and author, said in his most famous book that Americans work at least 5 months to pay their annual taxes. Taxation does not only pay public employees’ salaries, but also finance every single project carried out by the state at a local or nationwide level, so they are important.

Barbara Anderson, president of Citizens for Limited Taxation, spoke on the need of influencing “the undecided voter.” Credit: Citizens for Limited Taxation

Not every state pays the same amount of money in taxes and back in the 70’s, Massachusetts was among the top 3 of the highest tax paying states. An organization called Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT) was fighting to set a limit on taxes in “the commonwealth”, they called it, “Preposition 2 1/2″. The organization wanted to limit the property tax assessments and the automobile excise tax to a maximum 2.5%.

When the organization was collecting signatures, Barbara Anderson was the secretary in an office. In fact, she was the one who typed the bill. She was just a secretary, she didn’t even have a role in board discussions, but this changed when her boss quit. After the petition was filed and sent to the ballot, Barbara became the executive director of CLT. She was tasked with selling the bill to the citizens.

“I was happy to do this: I’m a strong believer in simplification, so I just told everyone, ‘We all know property taxes are too high, and this will fix them.’ This, however, was not enough for the media that was beginning to cover the story. It certainly was not enough for Walter Robinson, Globe State House bureau chief.” She wrote on her blog “I was terrified that, when interviewing me, he would find out that I didn’t know what all the legal language in the bill meant; we owed the lawyer who drafted it money, so I had to wing it. Yes, Walter looked just as he’s portrayed in the film by Keaton, determined to get the truth out. I always tell the truth; the problem was, I wasn’t sure I knew it all that well. I am pretty sure Walter picked up on this. But I think he also sensed I wouldn’t try to mislead him. He wasn’t after the secretary turned political activist, he wanted to tell his readers what this proposed initiative law said.”

Her lack of knowledge and experience did not stop her. She investigated really hard to sell the proposal and by the time the campaign was over, she knew everything there was to know about the topic. The proposition passed and it has been limiting the taxes in Massachusetts sin 1982.

She continued her work with the tax resistance movements and became one of its most charismatic champions. It’s very important to understand that this movement understand how important taxes are, but thinks they need to be controlled, and this movement has little or nothing to do with “tax protesters” who think taxation is not legal and they should not exist. This last group completely resists paying any kind of legal excuse.

After more than 30 years, the bill Barbara helped to establish still limits taxation in that state. Nowadays, Massachusetts is not even in the top ten of taxpayers in the United States.

Source: Citizens for Limited Taxation