Massachusetts Economists Criticize CLT


CAMBRIDGE, Mass--Some of the state's top economists, including three who sport Nobel Prizes on their mantles, charge Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT) with misleading voters about a proposed tax rollback petition on the November ballot.

"They should stop giving us misleading figures," said Franco Modigliani, who won the Nobel in 1985 for his analysis of savings and financial markets. The government is on the whole no more inefficient than it was six years ago. These shotgun figures are just designed to mislead."

Modigliani, with Wellesley College economist Carolyn Shaw Bell and Robert Reich, a political economist at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, charged CLT with twisting statistics to serve their cause during a news conference yesterday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"We should have done more in the mid-1980s," said Reich, a former economic adviser to Governor Michael S. Dukakis, "but the answer now certainly is not to shoot ourselves in the collective feet."

The three economists and 11 other academic experts--including 1987 Nobel Prize recipient Robert Solow '44 and 1970 prize winner Paul A. Samuelson, both of the MIT, and Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith--have signed a position paper saying the CLT proposal would severely damage the state's economic foundation by hurting Massachusetts' education system.