Monday, October 6, 2014

MA Election - Nov 4th - Ballot Question #1 - Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing

Four ballot questions will be presented all voters in the Commonwealth of MA as we go to the polls on Nov 4, 2014. Franklin voters will have two additional questions.

This is the first in a series of posts to help spread the word on the topic of each the ballot questions.

By now you should have received from the Secretary of the Commonwealth the familiar red flyer with the "Information for Voters". This text comes from the Secretary's website and is the same as in the red flyer.

MA Information for Voters - Nov 4, 2014
MA Information for Voters - Nov 4, 2014

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?


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.
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.

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

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

Be it enacted by the People, and by their authority, as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 64A of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out, in the definition of “tax per gallon”, the following words:-, “adjusted at the beginning of each calendar year, by the percentage, if any, by which the Consumer Price Index for the preceding year exceeds the Consumer Price Index for the calendar year that ends before such preceding year; provided, that the Consumer Price Index for any calendar year shall be as defined in section 1 of the Internal Revenue Code pursuant to 26 U.S.C. section 1; provided further, that the tax shall not be less than 21.5 cents per gallon.”
SECTION 2. The provisions of this law are severable, and if any clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this measure, or an application thereof, shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or application adjudged invalid. Effective January 1, 2015.

If you have not registered to vote, you can still do so up until Wednesday, October 15, 2014.
The Franklin Town Clerk's office hours are
  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8:00am-4:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am-6:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am-1:pm

For absentee ballots and additional information on the election visit the Town Clerk's page here
For additional information from the Secretary of the Commonwealth, visit the Elections page here

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