Curious About the Use of Excise Tax

By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV
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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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I’m curious about excise tax. Why does Massachusetts have this? This “extra” tax is supposed to go to our roads here in the Commonwealth, but does it really?  Roads in our cities and towns are a disgrace and we’re paying an extra excise tax on top of what we’re already paying in outrageous property taxes. If we are going to continue to allow cities and towns the ability to charge excise why can’t it be mandated that this money be allocated for roadway improvements only? - Jim

Ah…the excise tax.  The yearly bill you pay on the value of your car.  Why does Mass. have it?  To raise money of course.

But Jim has it wrong.  The excise tax isn’t “supposed” to go for road repairs.  It goes into the general fund of each city and town that collects the tax.  I asked the state’s Dept. of Revenue about this and here’s what they say: 

“Motor Vehicle Excise tax revenue goes to a community’s general fund for the support of the general operating budget.  Use of this revenue is unrestricted.”

So it’s not earmarked.  Of course a community could decide to spend it on road repairs…there would be a good connection there…you know…cars…roads.  But I suppose that would be like robbing Peter to pay Paul and would create a hole in another part of municipal budgets.

One thing about the excise tax-  If there’s anything to like about a tax…I kind of like this one because I know that when I grit my teeth and write that check the money goes to my town rather than to the state.  So at least I’m supporting my own community. 

By the way, the cost is $25 per each $1000 valuation.  And I sure agree with Jim about the conditions of many of our roads…nasty.

What’s your opinion?  Should the excise tax be used just for roadwork?

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