and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation
Post Office Box 1147  ●  Marblehead, Massachusetts 01945  ●  (508) 915-3665
“Every Tax is a Pay Cut ... A Tax Cut is a Pay Raise”

44 years as “The Voice of Massachusetts Taxpayers”
and their Institutional Memory

CLT News Release
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

No more burdens on motorists – cut the waste!

NO to H.1828, S.1987

On October 24, 2017 CLT appeared and testified before the Joint Committee on Transportation against S.1959, “An Act establishing the Metropolitan Transportation Network.”  Just three months later to the day — like “Groundhog Day” without Bill Murray — here we go all over again.


As with most “revenue enhancement” schemes on Beacon Hill, this one follows the usual trajectory of being proposed over and over and over until taxpayers and motorists find themselves further weighted down by the higher costs of wasteful, expanding state government spending imposed upon them — as if their burden isn’t heavy enough already.


The reincarnation of S.1959 arises as S.1987 accompanied by H.1828.


S.1987 is the resurrection of former-Sen. Tom McGee’s “Metropolitan Transportation Network” scheme complete with more and higher tolls on more roadways.


H.1828 proposes to establish “a vehicle mileage user fee task force . . . and other related matters.”  Establishing another task force sounds innocent enough, but why spend time and money if it isn’t toward a preordained conclusion to impose higher taxes or fees?  How would the state determine how many miles each of us drives every day without somehow monitoring, tracking us; “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you”?


As long as it’s “Groundhog Day” on Beacon Hill, Citizens for Limited Taxation will simply respond as we did to then-Sen. McGee’s bill before his Transportation Committee, just three months ago to the day.  All that has changed over the past ninety days is that in December the state collected over half a billion dollars in revenue more than was anticipated.


Nothing has changed with our position either, so we’ll regurgitate too:


In 2013 the Legislature increased the gas tax by three cents per gallon.  In 2016 that tax alone cost motorists $766 million.  Motorists also pay the 6.25% sales tax on the purchase of a motor vehicle, an annual excise on ownership, perpetually increasing fees for driver's licenses, vehicle registration, vehicle inspections, etc., and tolls already imposed, among other costs.


Citizens for Limited Taxation opposes any cost increases targeting motorists that only fund an embarrassingly bloated transportation system, already the third most expensive in the nation.


As always in Massachusetts, the state does not have a revenue problem — it has a spending problem.  When it comes to transportation infrastructure, Massachusetts has an astounding spending problem.

According to a comprehensive report issued last September [2016] by the Reason Foundation ("22nd Annual Highway Report"), this state spends 320 percent more than the national average for every mile of state road infrastructure built or maintained.  That puts this state at the 48th most expensive — spending more per state-controlled mile than only Florida and New Jersey.

Capital and Bridges Disbursements per State-Controlled Mile



New Hampshire


National Average


Maintenance Disbursements per State-Controlled Mile



New Hampshire


National Average


Administrative Disbursements per State-Controlled Mile



New Hampshire


National Average


Total Disbursements (including bond principal and interest, etc.) per State-Controlled Mile



New Hampshire


National Average


Source:  Reason Foundation Policy Study No. 448, September 2016, "22nd Annual Highway Report — The Performance of State Highway Systems"

Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, notes:  “Massachusetts desperately needs to get its exorbitant cost of highway construction and maintenance under control.  Throwing more and more taxpayer money at a failing and bloated transportation system is not a solution – it’s only digging the hole deeper.”

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Note:  We checked with the Reason Foundation yesterday and the above data are its most current.  An update of the foundation’s annual report has been delayed by the  unavailability of more current federal statistics for comparison until recently, we were advised, but the foundation expects to release a new report within the next month or two.

Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665