Friday, February 20, 2009

Republicans Disappointed in Administration's Transportation Proposal

The Republican Leadership Office released the following statement today in response to Governor Patrick’s proposed transportation package.

We, the Republican Leadership, are disappointed and dismayed in the decision of Governor Patrick and his administration to tax and spend the Commonwealth out of the fiscal mess it faces today. Equally disappointing is the lack of written legislation which was promised 18 months ago. “It’s difficult to comment on something that still hasn’t been put to paper yet,” said Rep. George N. Peterson, Jr., Assistant Minority Leader. “We’ve been waiting 18 months for a comprehensive transportation plan. Today we were only provided with a presentation.”

While we applaud the Governor on his efforts to streamline bureaucracy in the state’s transportation system, we are frustrated that the new plan includes another revenue proposal. Last month it was about taxing candy, soda and alcohol with a cost of $150 million, and today it’s about increasing the tax on fuel at a cost of $620 million. Last year the Governor and the Legislature passed the largest corporate tax package in the history of the Commonwealth costing $500 million, as well as yet another tax increase on cigarettes costing $175 million. “It seems Governor Patrick’s answer to every fiscal challenge is increased taxes,” said Rep. Vinny M. deMacedo, Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Ways & Means. “We cannot continue to go into the taxpayers’ pockets for more money when clearly there are significant cost savings that can be made by solely streamlining and reforming our transportation system.”

If Governor Patrick’s plan is adopted, the Commonwealth will have the highest gas tax in the country. Rep. Bradford R. Hill, Minority Whip, stated “The Governor is asking the people of Massachusetts to pay another $33 million for every one cent increase in the gas tax.” In addition to the exorbitant tax hike, we are still going to be stuck with the tolls. We will not in good conscience ask the taxpayers to dig into their wallets once again to pay for the mistakes of their elected officials. Rep. George N. Peterson, Jr., Assistant Minority Leader stated, “Governor Romney pointed out the Turnpike Authority was losing money several years ago, but no one was interested in reform back then. As a result, we’re going to end up paying a lot more now.”

Additionally, we will not allow the Administration to play “big brother” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Putting chips in drivers’ cars to keep track of their travels is an incredible invasion of privacy and will not be supported by the Republican Caucus.