and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Friday, February 20, 2009

Proposed Gas Tax Increase

For Immediate Release

Forgive us if we arenít grateful for a 19 cents a gallon gas tax increase because it isnít a 29 cents gas tax increase or a $7 toll hike.

We hope other voters wonít fall for the "scary expectations" scam. Note how it has worked so far.

Begin with the decision by Governor Patrick to go for a gas tax increase of, say, 15 cents a gallon.

First, he threatened us with a ridiculously high $7 toll increase. Drivers who would have to pay this almost initiated the discussion of a gas tax increase instead, themselves.

Then, he floated a 29 cents gas tax increase. Drivers were shocked, especially those who computed it on top of last yearís historically high gas prices.

Now he recommends a 19 cents gas tax increase. Toll-payers and drivers are supposed to breathe a sigh of relief, "Only 19 cents!" If they donít breathe with gratitude loud enough, the amount will drop to the governorís next best offer!

With any con job, timing is everything. The Turnpike Board is scheduled to vote on the giant toll increase next week. Scammed voters are told that if the gas tax passes, there will be no toll increase at all. A question remains: how dumb are we?

We donít have all the information on possible reforms yet Ė we donít have any in fact -- because itís not late enough in the Friday of vacation week for the governor to release the full package. For 19 cents a gallon, we would expect a whole lot of reforms Ė and should demand that these be implemented before we see any possible increase at the pump. The reforms should cancel the effect of the new mandated pay-raises for Turnpike workers. (Eg, get rid of toll collectors by abolishing tolls or with increased automation; benefit cuts; if all else fails, bankruptcy so contracts can be renegotiated).

Itís time for Massachusetts voters to just say No to being scammed again.

Ė 30 Ė

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