The Massachusetts state Senate passed a bill last night that will raise taxes on the residents of Massachusetts about $500 million dollars. The taxes will take the form of increases in gasoline, cigarette, and corporate taxes. So tell me again why a business would want to relocate to Massachusetts?
The Boston Herald posted the story today. The article states:
The plan calls for raising the gas tax by 3 cents and tying future increases to inflation, increasing the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, imposing new taxes on computer system design services, allowing the MBTA to sell naming rights to stations and redirecting funds from other areas of the budget.
The bill is a blow to Gov. Deval Patrick, who had been seeking $1.9 billion in new taxes for transportation and education. The House version of the bill also raises taxes by $500 million, but the Senate — after a veto threat — pulled money from other areas of the budget to bolster revenues closer to the $1 billion sought by Patrick. Last night, the governor seemed resigned to the diminished scope of the package.
Barbara Anderson, well known in Massachusetts for her work against tax hikes, posted the following on her Facebook page:
From media reports, the Senate Transportation bill that passed yesterday includes a 3-cent gas tax, a $1 tax on cigarettes, and $244 million in utility and business-related computer fees. Sen. Bob Hedlund, who appeared briefly at the rally during a Senate break, led the Republican effort to remove language indexing the gas tax to inflation beginning in 2015, but his amendment failed. Watch that tax on computer fees: very unfair to small businesses, and could be the beginning of expanding the sales tax to other services.
Raising taxes in less than ideal economic times is not a good idea. This move by the Senate will slow the growth of jobs and opportunity in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is not a good idea.
There is, however, something good in this tax bill (if it actually happens). The article in the Boston Herald reports:
The bill, which is designed to pour money into the highway system as well as the perennially cash-strapped T, includes two amendments that would pull the veil off the T’s pension system after years of scrutiny by lawmakers, judges and law enforcement — and a week of Herald reports.
Sen. William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) said he filed the legislation to make the MBTA Retirement Fund subject to the state’s public records law and require the board to post pensions payments on the state’s Open Checkbook website after he saw the Herald’s reports last week on the secretive pension system. He said he filed similar legislation about four years ago that failed to gain attention.
If the transparency actually occurs, it will be a good thing for the taxpayers of Massachusetts.