No on 1- keep the gas tax COLA

MA symbolForget the Pilgrim, the Minuteman and the Indian (Squanto?).  The real symbol of Massachusetts is the pothole.  The state has done a dreadful job of keeping up our infrastructure.  There are particularly bad places where hubcaps pile up by the side of the road.  Fixing our roads and bridges is paid for by gas tax revenues, and, until last year, our cowardly solons, ever fearful that dealing with these problems would mean voting for taxes, had gone 21 years without increasing the gas tax. The backlog of needed infrastructure work is enormous.

When in 2013 the legislature finally raised the tax by three cents a gallon (to 24 cents a gallon), they decided to link future adjustments to the rate of inflation. Not exactly a profile in courage!

Now Question 1 on the ballot would repeal that escalator.  The gas tax would stay the same unless the legislature voted affirmatively to raise it.  Supporters of repeal call the escalator “taxation without representation.”  But what we had for more than two decades was representation without taxation, at least as far as the gas tax was concerned.

It’s very nice to say that it is our legislators’ responsibility to do so every year that road work makes it potholenecessary, and that we should vote our solons out of office if they fail to act responsibly.  It’s a pretty civics class description of how things should work. But, especially in this overwhelmingly one-party state, generating that turnover to protest irresponsibility,  isn’t readily achieved. As a practical matter, we need that link to the Consumer Price Index to fix the half of all bridges that are deficient or obsolete and repave the rotten roads, which cost drivers an estimated $2 billion a year in repairs.

I’m not happy with this state of affairs, and I don’t normally like such escalator clauses.  But reality dictates a No vote on repealing  gas tax indexing.

I welcome your comments in the section below.



6 thoughts on “No on 1- keep the gas tax COLA

  1. Vinny Leo

    You see folks, what the liberal will not tell you is this tax goes up and up and up, but if the consumer price index goes down the tax will stay at it’s highest level, the money will be used to pad the pockets of democrats and the pot holes will remain the same, as usual people born into money and have never had to worry whether or not they will have a home to live in, want to raise YOUR cost of living.

    They use you as their personal bank account and never feel the pinch.
    They do not care about you— watch the tape.

    Vote yes on 1 and punish these Rich wealthy non-working people, give them a taste of their own medicine, and even better send them all back to Europe where they belong.


  2. That’s a very unsettling bill of particulars, but I would like to know the source for each item on the list and whether and to what extent each is a function of mismanagement. For example, the toll takers severance package, wasn’t that designed to save dollars over the long run by automating more toll booths?


  3. VOTE YES ON 1, Just like the tobacco tax, the last time the gas tax was raised the money was diverted into the general fund; in addition, the state will not release how the gas tax money is distributed. This year the Legislature increase the gas tax; however, by indexing the gas tax it will make it easier for the Legislature to divert the gas tax back into the general fund and the tax will not be used for roads. The gas tax money is supposed to be used on roads VOTE YES ON 1

    Here are two quotes for state representatives, “Our state doesn’t have a revenue problem. Our state government has a mismanagement problem,” said Rep. Geoff Diehl. “One year ago the House voted to raise taxes. Our focus should be on stopping the wasting of tax dollars rather than raiding the wallets of the hard working taxpayers.” said Rep. Lenny Mirra

    The State House Tab lists the following mismanagement problems:
    Crime lab scandal $332 million
    Toll takers severance package $24 million
    Welfare fraud $200 million
    Health Connector(failed website and insurance coverage problems) $500 million
    Unemployment Insurance website overrun $6 million
    Health safety net for ineligible residents $175 million
    Abandoned department of revenue website $55 million
    Mass Health for ineligible residents $93 million
    MBTA maintenance Department mismanagement $250 million
    40% increase in state employees earning over $100,000 $354 million
    MBTA poorly designed renovations $11 million
    Makeover of Governor’s Office $9 million
    Transgender reassignment coverage $2.6 million
    Evergreen Solar $30 million
    State Climatologist $100,000


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