House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R- North Reading), Representative Steven S. Howitt (R-Seekonk), ranking Republican on the Joint Committee on Transportation, and Representative Peter Durant (R-Spencer) were joined by the House Republican Caucus in voting against a Democratic-led transportation finance proposal which contained $500 million in tax increases.
“By electing to raise taxes in the Commonwealth, Democrats on Beacon Hill have indicated their willingness to help fund Governor Patrick’s legacy project,” said Representative Jones. “Unfortunately, despite the House Republican Caucus’ proposal of an alternative transportation finance plan – free from any statewide tax increases – the residents of Massachusetts are on the verge of having to pay for the third major tax increase since Governor Patrick was sworn into office.”
House Bill 3382, An Act Relative to Transportation Finance, endorsed by both House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray, contains tax increases which will affect the everyday lives of Massachusetts’ hardworking taxpayers. House Democrats were successful in their plan to increase the state’s gasoline tax and tobacco tax, thereby ignoring the Commonwealth’s residents, many of whom continue to struggle to make ends meet.
The Commonwealth’s small business community will not be immune to the wide-reaching tax proposal passed by Democratic majority. Higher taxes on certain software services and increased tax rate for utility companies will not only stifle our state’s entrepreneurs, but will have a trickle-down effect on residents and ratepayers alike.
“It was disappointing that when the Legislature was presented with the Republican Caucus’ tax-neutral plan, it was arbitrarily discarded in favor of raising taxes,” said Representative Howitt. “By choosing to utilize a tax and spend approach, the plan endorsed by House Democrats will lead to further economic hardships for our state’s individuals and families.”
Continuing their advocacy for Massachusetts’ taxpayers and small businesses, the House Republican Caucus offered a transportation finance proposal which raises the necessary revenue to solve the state’s transportation finance dilemma while refraining from raising any additional revenue.
In addition to offering an alternative plan, the Republican Caucus offered amendments which would, in part, repeal both the Pacheco Law and eliminate pricey Project Labor Agreements. Had they been adopted by the Democratic majority, the Commonwealth stood to save millions of dollars each year – money which would be directed to fund transportation and infrastructure projects around Massachusetts.
“Our constituents truly believe in the ‘reform before revenue’ mantra that focused the last transportation debate. They believe it is more than a meaningful slogan, but a call to fundamentally change the way we operate to ensure that all tax dollars are spent effectively and efficiently,” said Representative Durant. “Unfortunately, several Republican sponsored reforms, intended to build-on and improve the reforms from 2009, were not adopted by our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”
Having passed the House, the transportation finance package goes before the State Senate for consideration.