Friday, February 27, 2009

As I See It by Representative Paul Frost

Representative Paul Frost had the following piece published in today's Worcester Telegram and Gazette.

On the state level we should be looking at ways to stimulate the economy by allowing people to keep more of their own money.

What President Obama giveth, Gov. Deval Patrick taketh away. This pretty much sums up what I see are mixed messages over the past few weeks from the federal and state sides of government.

On one hand the feds are seeking to stimulate the economy by, in one way, providing tax relief to our citizens in hopes they will use their tax break to spend in the economy. On the other hand, here in Massachusetts our governor is calling for all sorts of tax increases, taking money out of the pockets of taxpayers so they will have less to spend in our state’s economy.

In other words, no matter what you may gain in federal tax relief, Gov. Patrick wants to take it away from you, and then some, for state spending.

Though I certainly have issues with the earmarked spending stimulus the federal government passed, I do support the infrastructure investment and the tax breaks (though too small in my opinion). I find it troubling our governor and others in the state Legislature are calling for higher taxes — most notable of recent days, the gasoline tax. Increasing taxes will only cripple our economy further and make it that much more difficult for our state to rebound when times improve.

Massachusetts will have the highest gas tax in the nation if the governor gets his way. This means businesses and revenues in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island can take advantage at our state’s expense. This boom for other states would result from the gas tax increase alone, never mind the other taxes the governor wants to pursue as well.

I know, I know, but what about the tolls? The governor has said if we don’t raise the gas tax then tolls on the Mass Pike will double. This is a false choice that is being given to us. Nineteen cents on the gallon of gas is not needed to stop a toll increase, when in fact only 3 1/2 cents on the gallon would be needed.

And I would further say we can cover for that 3 1/2 cents without raising the gas tax or the tolls at all. There are other choices, ones the Republicans in the House have offered for years, including one plan we offered months ago which could be done without raising taxes or tolls.

The reality is, our citizens cannot afford to pay more in taxes. At the state level we should also be looking at ways to stimulate the economy by allowing people to keep more of their own money and let them and the small businesses of our commonwealth lead us out of this economic downturn and not through state taxes. For the sake of fairness and for our economy the state should not take away the tax breaks our citizens will get from the federal government.