2014 Information For Voters

QUESTION 1: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition

Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing

Do you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives on or before May 6, 2014?

SUMMARY

This proposed law would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon.

WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO

A YES VOTE would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the laws regarding the gas tax.

See full text of Question 1

ARGUMENTS

As provided by law, the 150-word arguments are written by proponents and opponents of each question, and reflect their opinions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not endorse these arguments, and does not certify the truth or accuracy of any statement made in these arguments. The names of the individuals and organizations who wrote each argument, and any written comments by others about each argument, are on file in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

IN FAVOR: Voting yes simply stops the linkage of the gas tax to inflation. This linkage causes the tax to increase every year without a vote of the Legislature. That’s taxation without representation. If the Legislature wants to increase taxes, they should have to vote for it. No tax should automatically increase.

This initiative cuts no money for bridge or road repair. It just requires the Legislature to take a vote if and when they want to raise the tax.

You already pay hefty gas taxes – 26.5 cents for state taxes and 18.4 cents for federal. For an average 15 gallon fill-up, you spend $6.73 in taxes.

Within the last year the administration has re-instituted tolls, raised registry fees by 20%, and raised other taxes. And the last time gas taxes were increased the money was diverted from road repair. The state has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Authored by:
Steven Aylward
Committee to Tank Automatic Gas Tax Hikes
154 Worcester Street
Watertown, MA 02472
617-744-0760
www.tankthegastax.org

AGAINST: Question One threatens the safety of you and your family when traveling on Massachusetts’ roads and bridges. The problems are startling: according to the Federal Highway Administration, 53% of all bridges in the state are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Moreover, 27 bridges have been closed because they are unsafe. Potholes and bad roads cost Massachusetts residents $2.3 billion a year in car repairs.

After decades of neglect, the poor condition of Massachusetts bridges and roads is now a significant public safety crisis. The longer we wait, the more it will cost every taxpayer to fix the problems. A Yes vote would make things even worse, by taking away existing gas tax revenues that we need to solve this public safety crisis – revenues that, under the state constitution, can only be used for transportation needs. Vote NO on Question One, and let’s fix our unsafe bridges and roads now.

Authored by:
Committee for Safer Roads and Bridges
89 Broad Street, #394
Boston, MA 02110
617-391-9663
www.saferoadsbridges.com