Vote on Gas Tax Hike Wisely Delayed [OPINION]
Massachusetts voters have had enough of the corruption that exists on Beacon Hill; therefore, it was a wise move by the legislative leadership to delay a vote on a hefty gas tax increase until after the holidays.
Lawmakers are proposing several measures to raise the gas tax. One would phase in a 15-cent-per-gallon increase in three equal increments. Another would increase the 24-cent tax by 15 cents per gallon all at once. I'll take neither.
Governor Charlie Baker opposes any gas tax increase. Perhaps he remembers that when the Legislature raised the tax several years ago, voters organized and immediately repealed it in the very next election.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka support the gas tax hike as a means of funding transportation projects. Taxpayers, meanwhile, see billions of dollars of their hard-earned money being wasted annually and do not support increasing the tax.
Those who commute into or out of Boston daily are demanding something be done about the failing subway, rail and highway systems as they should. But most of us don't commute to Boston or regularly use the rail, subway and highway systems in the Boston area, and don't feel we should have to share in the cost of upgrading them. Boston doesn't share economic development with the rest of the state, so why should we pay for its infrastructure?
Southeastern Massachusetts is denied a casino. We have no train connection to the state capital. Hell, we were even called "the end of the universe" when it came time to siting a high-tech center.
The power brokers keep stuffing all of the golden eggs into Boston at the expense of the rest of the state, so let them figure out a way to pay for the needed transportation upgrades. We paid for the Tip O'Neil Tunnel with money that was diverted away from local transportation projects. What did we get in return? Nothing.
When they begin treating the rest of the Commonwealth's citizens as equal partners, then perhaps I'll listen to their calls for new taxes to pay for their transportation needs. Until then, you're on your own, bro.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.