(As of 3:45 today I am a constituent as I officially changed my voter registration to Shrewsbury. I look forward to voting for your re-election in 2010 – promoted by EaBo Clipper)
Well, we all knew it was probably coming. Now it’s here.
Yesterday, several leading members of the House and Senate were quoted as saying they are considering increases in the state sales tax and the state income tax as ways to generate revenue to bridge budget shortfalls.
It’s bad enough that there have been proposals to increase taxes on gasoline, sweetened beverages, candy, and alcohol, and that there are plans underway to hike the tolls on the Turnpike and harbor tunnels. But broadly increasing the sales or income taxes would be an entirely different story. Raising either tax right now would have a devastating effect on our economy and our families by seriously impacting every single Massachusetts resident.
In fairness, some of those who spoke in favor of the tax increases yesterday later stepped back from their comments, saying that they were committed to reforming government and cutting costs before raising new revenue. I think that’s the better approach by far. They also said they were just trying to explore all options given the current state of our economy, which I respect.
But, I have to wonder how sincere all their talk about reform really is. You see, it’s becoming standard fare for people on Beacon Hill to look at new taxes as the first and only option to solve problems. What’s more, the very leaders who claim to want reform are the same ones who have failed to bring any reform or cost-cutting measures up for debate for years. For example, the proposal to eliminate the Mass. Turnpike Authority and merge it with the Highway Department was first proposed many years ago by Governor Romney, but it’s really not any closer to being a reality today. At the same time, it’s entirely possible that we could see a near-doubling of our state gas tax to pay for transportation costs, just weeks after it was first proposed by Governor Patrick. That’s unacceptable to me.
I think new taxes need to be off the table unless and until we make a serious effort to tame irresponsible state spending. I fully acknowledge the important role that our government plays in the lives of everyday people in this state, and I admit there is a price we all have to pay to fund those programs. But, I refuse to ask my constituents to pay more money to support a system that is fundamentally broken.
What do you think?