Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mass. Gas Tax Increase - Loopy Proposals by Gov. Deval Patrick

Massachusetts “Hope and Change” Governor, Deval Patrick, looking for ways to get out from under an increasing state deficit (includes continuing work on the infamous Big Dig) is suggesting, among other things, a rise in the State Gas Tax. Massachusetts consumers currently pay 23.5 cents per gallon of gas; the additional .27 cent per gallon hike would give residents the distinction of paying the highest state gas taxes in the nation. (There is also a proposed increase in the Federal Gas Tax by the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission.) Support for the increase in the State gas tax is split along party lines, with Democrat Legislators defending the Governor, and Republican legislators defending their constituents.

In an interview on WGBH, Boston (video on site here), Jennifer Nassour, State GOP Party Chairperson, weighed in on the proposed gas tax noting that there were other avenues such as reform promised by the Governor. She went on to point out several areas where the Governor may have reduced spending including not hiring a personal assistant for his wife.

Other proposals being touted by the Governor include: applying the state’s “sin tax” to candy and soda, charging tolls at the borders of Vermont and Connecticut, and a personal favorite: placing a computer chip in inspection stickers which would charge Massachusetts drivers for every mile they drive. (Open road tolling or Electronic Toll Collection). Repeat: every mile driven. Loopy may not be a strong enough word to describe this idea.

It goes without saying, that he exodus of residents from the state, which will cause the Commonwealth to lose two congressional seats, will continue should the Governor continue his tax and spend policy (sound familiar?). Duval Patrick is up for re-election in 2010 and should be cognizant of the fact that the electorate of Massachusetts is not overwhelming Democrat, contrary to popular think, the State’s electorate is overwhelming independent (50 plus percent of the registered voters). History may once again repeat itself, with the Governor being thrown overboard, instead of the tea.

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