Rep. Birmingham supported a measure, introduced by Rep. Henry L. Shattuck of Boston as an amendment to legislation setting a tax limit for Boston of $16 per one year, to give Boston home rule on tax issues, the Boston Herald reported (March 7, 1930, p. 16).
The Shattuck amendment was also supported by Rep. Luke Mullen of Charlestown and Rep. James J. Twohig of South Boston.
In advocating for his bill, Shattuck said that current approach of the House setting the tax rate limit for Boston was actually an invitation for the city to spend money rather than a limit. He argued that the current practice of fixing the tax limit for Boston had done nothing to keep tax rates down.
Opposition came from Rep. John Higgins of the West End, who was regarded as the House spokesman for Martin Lomasney. Higgins argued that the tax limit bill should not be used as a vehicle to obtain home rule for Boston. Higgins was not opposed to home rule, but thought that the selection of a police commissioner or a preferential primary would be a better home rule vehicle.
The House municipal finance committee recommended the tax limit bill without the home rule provisions. The committee was supported by Rep. Eliot Wadsworth, Rep. Martin Hays, and Rep. George P. Anderson, all of Boston. Anderson argued that the tax limit was liberal toward the city while retaining the legislature’s authority over Boston’s tax policy.
The Shattuck amendment was rejected by the House by a vote of 123 to 69.