Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jones: Gas Tax No Substitute For Reform

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. released the following statement today as Governor Deval Patrick mulls a 27 cent gas tax hike.

Like many lawmakers and hard-working citizens across the state, I am shocked and appalled to learn that Governor Patrick is once again considering diving into the pockets and purses of Massachusetts taxpayers. Three years ago when Governor Patrick was Candidate Patrick, he adamantly opposed the idea of an increased gas tax. In fact, he campaigned on the platform of tax relief. Today, caving under political pressures and in the absence of any real reform, Governor Patrick is now considering asking the taxpayers to fork over an additional 27 cents every time they buy a gallon of gas.

To make the situation worse, Governor Patrick is also considering legislation that would allow the state to track and charge all Massachusetts drivers based on the miles they travel. This “big brother” program should scare everyone to death as the possibilities are mind-boggling. That program would be enforced through a chip that would be installed in a car when the vehicle is inspected.

I, along with the Republican Caucus, have called on Governor Patrick to show real leadership, to grab onto the idea of reform and run with it. In fact, we have been waiting for nearly 18 months for a plan. Governor Patrick, however, has chosen a quick fix instead of what is really needed, a long term solution. We will not support this measure or any other like it until all options are examined. The out of control spending, the misplaced priorities and the constant misuse of taxpayer money needs to come to a grinding halt as the taxpayers in the Commonwealth cannot afford to waste one more penny on a mismanaged agency or program.