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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taxes on the table

The T word has finally been raised in discussing the state's transportation nightmares. But lawmakers really ought to be looking at taxes that target those who get the most use out of the upgrades.

Deval Patrick unveiled a detailed report on the $1.02 billion that will be needed to bring the state's highway and pubic transportation system into fiscal balance. He will outline his own preferences in tomorrow's State of the State address, but the list includes the usual suspects: sales, income and gasoline taxes; a vehicle miles traveled tax; higher title and registration fees and a payroll tax on workers within regions with public transit.

There's a precedent in place as lawmakers begin their deliberations, one that even appeals to Republicans who consider taxes a dirty word: the heaviest burden should fall on the heaviest users.

MBTA commuters have certainly seen that principle in action with a combination of fare hikes and service cuts last year. Motorists who have paid the same 21-cent per gallon gasoline tax since 1991 have not.

Any rational solution to the crumbling roads, bridges and public transit system will require more from everyone. And higher gasoline taxes are no easy thing for people dependent on a car to get to a service job.

But higher income or sales taxes should only be considered after new assessments on those who have had the fewest skins in the game for the last two decades.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know if you have a car but don't forget us auto people also have to pay the excise tax. But in the spirit of those who use pay for it the excise tax stays in the city/town where you live.

January 15, 2013 9:30 AM  

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