BOSTON (CBS) — Since last year, drivers have been paying three cents more tax-per-gallon in Massachusetts, under a new law that will automatically raise that tax in the future.
While supporters claim that money is crucial to keeping our roads in decent shape, you may soon have the chance to get rid of it.
There are 120,000 signatures on a petition to repeal the tax and the folks behind it are making it clear they don’t like the 3-cent hike but hate the automatic part of it even more.
“I would love to repeal the entire gas tax but we need to at least vote yes on question 2 to make sure this doesn’t go on forever and ever,” Rep. Shawn Dooley said.
Civil engineer Tony Puntin, a spokesman for a group opposing the gas-tax repeal, insists the traffic-clogging deterioration of scores of state bridges and roads requires a consistent financial investment that the legislature has proven unwilling to make.
“The past 20 years, the legislature hasn’t had the intestinal fortitude to make sure that we have enough funding to keep up with the cost of inflation. It gets back to the basic premise that we’re using 1992 money to build 2014 bridges.”
But the GOP gubernatorial frontrunner isn’t buying the claim that more money and more financial predictability are necessary.
“Every year there’s a budget process and that process can be used to lay out what the Commonwealth’s capital plans are gonna look like going forward, and that’s as it should be,” Charlie Baker said. “There’s never enough one way or another when you’re spending other people’s money.”
The 24 cents-per-gallon you pay in the state is actually less than four of the other five New England states, with New Hampshire being the lowest. Question two wouldn’t repeal the most recent increase. But, if it passes this fall, legislators will once again have to vote each time they want to raise it.