SHNS CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK - MORNING EDITION - TUESDAY, AUG. 12, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

INDY GUV CANDIDATE PROMISES 5 PERCENT INCOME TAX RATE

Independent candidate for governor Jeff McCormick, who is campaigning Tuesday in Springfield and Greenfield, is newly promising to lower the income tax rate to 5 percent, the level sought by voters when they approved (56 percent to 37 percent) a ballot law in 2000. Although that rate may be achieved without the need for any legislative intervention, McCormick plans to achieve it by strategically allowing vacated state jobs to remain unfilled. McCormick on Tuesday referenced a "temporary" income tax increase signed by former Gov. Michael Dukakis in the late 1980s, saying, "It is time that the hardworking people of Massachusetts receive what they were promised 25 years ago." He said that if elected, he would offset the reduction in tax revenues cause by the tax reduction by reducing the state workforce through attrition over his first term. "Through attrition we can roll back at least 5,000 of the 10,000 new positions created by Governor Patrick since he took office," McCormick said in a statement. When the economy faltered after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Legislature in 2002 halted the income tax reduction schedule, freezing the tax rate at 5.3 percent and conditioning future cuts on an economic formula. Triggers since then have whittled the income tax down to 5.


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2 percent, not the 5.25 percent rate McCormick claimed in his press release Tuesday. Under current law, the earliest the income tax could hit 5 percent is Jan. 1, 2018. McCormick is pledging a 5 percent rate by the end of 2018. The tax accounted for more than 57 percent of total state tax revenues in fiscal 2013. - M. Norton/SHNS

BAKER, FISHER TO DEBATE ON WEDNESDAY MORNING

Republican candidates for governor Charlie Baker and Mark Fisher are set to debate Wednesday morning. WBUR is scheduled to host the debate at 9 a.m. Republican Party officials agreed to allow Fisher's name to appear on the Sept. 9 primary ballot after the Shrewsbury Republican filed a lawsuit alleging improper procedures at the party convention where he was initially ruled ineligible for the ballot. - M. Norton/SHNS

IN FIRST TV AD, COAKLEY DINGS "OLD BOYS CLUB"

Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Martha Coakley released her first television ad Tuesday, casting herself as a champion of working people unconcerned about "the old boys club." Coakley, the state's first female attorney general, has consistently outpaced in polling her Democratic opponents Steven Grossman, the state's treasurer, and Don Berwick, a former pediatrician who was acting chief of Medicare and Medicaid. Coakley has been on the receiving end of criticism from Grossman, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee who ran a small business and whose first ad asked voters, "Who do you trust to grow our economy as governor, a career prosecutor or a proven jobs creator?" Coakley's ad highlights her "career fighting for people without money or power" on behalf of abused women and children and against "the big banks and Wall Street," as scenes show the candidate meeting with voters around the state. After negotiations over a pact to discourage outside spending broke down, Grossman became the lone Democrat with a free-spending super PAC backing his candidacy, giving Coakley a chance for a glancing blow in the 30-second spot. "The political insiders, the big money super PACs, the old boys club, they're all against her. That's OK, she's not fighting for them; she's fighting for us," the narrator says. The initial ad buy is $60,000 and the ads will be targeted at "people most likely to be paying attention right now," and will ramp up as more people tune into the race, according to a campaign official. Asked who "the old boys club" referred to, Coakley campaign spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin said Coakley's campaign is "focused on how we will turn this economy around and level the playing field for everyone - not just the special interests, Wall Street and those at the top." - A. Metzger/SHNS

DUKAKIS JUMPING BACK ON TRAIL FOR LAKE

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis, 80, gets back on the campaign trail Wednesday when he stumps for lieutenant governor candidate Mike Lake. Dukakis, who wades back into the political fray, endorsed Lake early in the race, announcing his support in December 2013 at an event in Boston. A spokeswoman for Lake said Wednesday the former governor endorsed Lake because he is a progressive Democrat, like Dukakis. Lake and Dukakis will appear together at Treadwells, an ice cream shop in Peabody. "I could not be more excited to sit side-by-side with one of the greatest leaders in the history of Massachusetts," Lake said in a press release announcing the event. "Nobody epitomizes integrity and passion for public service more than the Gov. Dukakis." Dukakis was governor from 1975 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1991, and ran for president in 1988. He now teaches public policy at Northeastern University. Lake graduated from Northeastern in 2002. He is now the executive director of World Class Cities Partnership and City-to-City of Northeastern's School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. The campaign event is open to the public. - C. Quinn/SHNS

McGLYNN, DONATO SUPPORTING KERRIGAN

Steve Kerrigan's campaign for lieutenant governor has four sheriffs and 14 mayors on board with Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn on Tuesday becoming the latest to endorse the former aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy. Medford Rep. Paul Donato also endorsed Kerrigan, a fellow Democrat, noting his service as president of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund. A former Lancaster selectman, Kerrigan was CEO of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and CEO of President Obama's second inauguration. - M. Norton/SHNS