The Herald’s Dave Wedge, who seems to have a limitless ability to dig interesting items out of years-old records, has found that in 2000 Chris Gabrieli donated $15,100 to a political action committee that fought against the ballot question to roll the income tax back to 5.0%. Wedge describes Gabrieli as “following in the flip-flop footsteps of Attorney General Tom Reilly on tax cuts.”
But it strikes me as a bit unfair to try to paint Gabrieli as a “flip-flopper” on this issue. It doesn’t seem to me inconsistent to say that you’re against a particular ballot question, and to support a group trying to defeat it, but then also to say that since the ballot question actually passed, we should respect the “will of the voters.”
Wedge says that “Gabrieli’s apparent turnabout is similar to that of Reilly, who as late as April 2005 was quoted as saying he was ‘opposed to the income tax rollback to a flat 5 percent.'” But again, the two “turnabouts” really are not comparable. When Reilly made his statement in 2005, the voters had already said they wanted the rollback, and Reilly opposed it; now, for whatever reason, he supports it. Gabrieli, on the other hand, was involved in trying to persuade voters to oppose the rollback; he failed; so now he’s willing to along with them. Looks pretty different to me.
None of this really addresses whether Gabrieli, or Reilly, or Patrick for that matter, is “right” about the tax cut question – that’s a separate issue. But the “flip-flopper” label, in addition to being just so 2004, seems inappropriate for Gabrieli in this case.