Hurrah for Tom Birmingham! The Senate president is putting the kibosh on the nasty
little attempt by the House to restore auto registration fees in Massachusetts.
In an attempt to get $100 million a year more for road projects, the House leaders
had planned to restore the auto registration fee of $30 every two years (which then-Gov.
Bill Weld killed during his 1996 Senate campaign) and to drop current plans to lower the
drivers' license renewal fee ($33.75 every five years) to $2 in 2001.
They say Birmingham may run for governor, and would rather not let Gov. Paul
Cellucci veto a fee restoration and make a campaign issue of it. And Senate rank and file
aren't wild about the idea either. Hey, whatever it takes.
Birmingham said one reason he objected was that the registration fee was $30 for
everybody, well-off or just getting by, whether registering a compact or luxury sedan.
True, but not the biggest objection in our view. That's the sheer disgust at being
betrayed again by the politicians, and the nibbled-to-death-by-ducks feeling of getting
hit again with a nuisance we thought we'd got rid of.
Now if we could only persuade Birmingham to be as sensible in returning to the 5
percent income tax rate, boosted to 5.95 percent as a "temporary" measure a
decade ago. Remember, senator, the governor has pledged to make that an issue and lead the
signature drive to get it on the ballot.