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Coalition campaign will press Brown to hike taxes on wealthy

By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / August 16, 2011

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A coalition of unions and liberal groups plans tomorrow to unveil a mobile billboard urging Senator Scott Brown to support higher taxes on the rich and on corporations to help solve the nation’s budget crunch.

The groups said they plan to bring the billboard, which is attached to a truck, to events that the Massachusetts Republican is attending, including a fund-raiser in Dartmouth tomorrow and a Lowell Spinners game next Monday.

“Scott Brown: Listen to the people,’’ the billboard reads. “We can’t afford the Bush tax handouts to corporations and super rich anymore. Don’t sell out seniors and kids.’’

The coalition sponsoring the billboard includes the Service Employees International Union 1199, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Mass Senior Action, and MoveOn.Org Greater Boston - groups that traditionally support Democratic causes and candidates.

Formally called the Massachusetts Coalition for a Working Economy, the group is, however, officially nonpartisan and does not support or oppose Brown in his fight for reelection in 2012, said Jeff Hall, a spokesman for SEIU 1199.

The coalition plans to unveil the billboard outside Brown’s Boston office at noon tomorrow, Hall said. In addition, some of the groups plan to run radio and newspaper ads pushing Brown to reconsider his opposition to taxes, he said.

“There has to be a solution to the national budget crisis that includes new revenues from the wealthiest Americans and from large corporations,’’ Hall said. “The hope is Scott Brown will reconsider his staunch defense so far of those tax handouts in favor of more common-sense budget solutions.’’

Marcie Kinzel, a spokeswoman for Brown, responded to the billboard campaign by pointing to an opinion piece the senator published in Saturday’s Globe. In that piece, Brown urged Congress to avoid broad-based tax increases.

“With personal income tax rates about to increase for millions of Americans in 2013, we need a broad tax reform package that eliminates the special loopholes, simplifies the tax code, and lowers rates,’’ he wrote.

Last week, at a Brighton event, Brown reiterated that he was not inclined to support higher taxes after he was urged by Nina Allen, a MoveOn.org organizer, to consider new taxes on oil companies and the wealthy.

“We’re in a two-to-three-year recession right now, and raising taxes is an absolute job killer,’’ Brown told Allen. At the same event, Brown warned that benefits for seniors could be cut because of the nation’s “financial emergency.’’

As a Republican in traditionally Democratic Massachusetts, Brown is no stranger to protests.

During his jobs tour last week, several activists from MassUniting, a coalition of union, religious, and community organizations, demonstrated outside his stops, blasting the senator’s record on job creation.

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.