Carla Howell

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Carla A. Howell (born 1955) is an American political activist and small government advocate. She is Political Director for the national Libertarian Party. She is most known for organizing tax cut initiative petitions in Massachusetts (called ballot measures in other states). She spearheaded an initiative to repeal the Massachusetts state personal income tax in 2002 and again in 2008 and one to cut the state sales tax in 2010. She ran for office in Massachusetts for U.S. Senate (2000), Governor (2002), and State Auditor (1998) on the Libertarian Party ticket. She served on the staff of the Libertarian National Committee[1] from December 2011 until June 2017.

In 2010 she headed the Alliance to Roll Back Taxes, backing a ballot initiative to cut the Massachusetts sales tax from 6.25% to 3.0% which was on the November 2, 2010 ballot as Question 3. Her group collected and submitted 74,131 approved voter signatures in the fall of 2009, and another 14,023 signatures in the spring-summer of 2010 to qualify the measure.

Howell released her spoof song How Could I Live Without Filing Taxes in 2001 which she wrote and performed.

She earned her MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts (1986) and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bethany College in Mathematics/Computer Science (1976). She worked at Datamedic, Clinical Information Advantages, Inc., Westinghouse Electric, Computervision Corporation, and Analog Devices, and consulted for numerous small and medium-sized businesses in Massachusetts.[2]

Petitions to repeal the Massachusetts State Personal Income Tax[edit]

At the time of the 2002 and 2008 initiatives Massachusetts had an income tax rate of 5.3% on most sources of income.[3]

  • 2002 Statewide Ballot Question 1.[4] In 2002, she sponsored an initiative petition to end the income tax in Massachusetts.[5] This measure failed with 45% of the vote.
  • 2008 Statewide Ballot Question 1.[6] In 2007, she, along with fellow co-chair Michael Cloud, re-formed the Committee For Small Government (the group behind the 2002 effort to end the income tax). The Committee obtained enough petition signatures to put the issue on the ballot.[7] The 2008 initiative differed from the 2002 initiative in that it provided a one-year transition period with a tax rate of 2.65% before the tax rate would drop to zero. This measure received a higher vote total than in 2002, but lost with 30% of the vote, due to higher turn-out in presidential election years when an additional 500,000 voters, mostly Democratic, turn out to vote, as well as a $7 million campaign opposing the measure, funded primarily by the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Initiative to roll back sales tax[edit]

In September 2009 Howell (and Michael Cloud) proposed a ballot initiative for the 2010 ballot to roll back the Massachusetts sales tax from 6.25% to 3%.[8] The measure reached as high as 56% in the polls, but fell short after a $4.5 million advertising campaign and an unprecedented get-out-the-vote effort by the opposition.

Election campaigns[edit]

She was the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts candidate in the race for U.S. Senate in 2000, which was won by Democrat Ted Kennedy. Howell received 11.9% of the vote (a total of 308,860 votes). Howell had raised $859,311.[9]

She ran for Massachusetts State Auditor in 1998 and was endorsed by the Boston Herald. Howell lost finishing with 102,198 votes for 5.71% of the total vote. Howell also was a candidate in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Libertarian National Committee staff listing on national Libertarian Party website
  2. ^ Carla Howell "about page"
  3. ^ Bankrate "current list of state income taxes"
  4. ^ Massachusetts Secretary of state "2002 Ballot Question 1"
  5. ^ Third Party Watch "Ending the Mass income taxes" Archived September 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Mass Secretary of State "2008 Ballot Question 1"
  7. ^ New York Times "Massachusetts Proposal Would Repeal Income Tax"
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2009-09-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]