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Will GM cuts foil Patrick's car tax plans?

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  February 20, 2009 12:30 PM

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Governor Deval Patrick wants to raise the Massachusetts gasoline tax by 19 cents, charge higher registration fees for gas-guzzlers, and even suggested taxing drivers for every mile they drive, the Boston Globe reported this week.

Under Patrick's plan, the state gas tax would nearly double from 23.5 to 42.5 cents, making it one of the highest in the country. Plans to increase tolls along the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Ted Williams and Sumner tunnels could be shelved if a gas tax hike is approved before the end of March. If it fails, the tolls would be raised anyway in July. (Update: The Turnpike Authority says that all toll increases would roll back if the gas tax is approved after both dates).

The so-called "Hummer fee" would target SUVs and trucks - vehicles not covered by the federal gas-guzzler tax. Cars that already carry the tax would effectively be penalized twice. But these fees - which would fund the state's debt-ridden public transportation system and $15 billion Big Dig - may be unneeded if their claim is to promote fuel-efficient vehicles.

After all, General Motors unwittingly cut its carbon footprint this week by planning to eliminate the entire Hummer and Saturn brands and much of the Pontiac lineup (Hummer is for sale, Saturn will die in 2011 but could be bought by its dealers, and a slimmer Pontiac will arrive by 2012, if not sooner).

So in three years - with the likely demise of Saturn, a continuing industry sales decline, and assuming Pontiac and Hummer (if it still exists) sell at least half as many cars as in 2008 - roughly 400,000 cars will be gone from American roads. That's not all of the 12 unnamed models GM will drop by 2012, or the company's black flag on future high-performance variants like the Cadillac CTS-V and Chevrolet Camaro SS. Less vehicles, less pollution, and more fuel-efficient cars. Sounds like a win for the government.

But according to the Globe, Patrick has this scenario covered, too. (Even Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is on it.)

"But Patrick cautioned that even if lawmakers raise the gas tax, the state would probably collect less money in the future as drivers buy more fuel-efficient cars and need less gas. Because of that, he is also considering a replacement that would charge drivers a fee for every mile they drive."

Perhaps we also need a Soviet-style visa system that prohibits people from traveling outside their regions. Or, a government-issued black box chip installed in every vehicle that would be analyzed at every emissions inspection - wait, that's too realistic.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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86 comments so far...
  1. Governor Patrick must not have any good plans for re election when his term is up. I voted for him, but some of his decision are very unpopular with me. Tax a chusetts never changes. Tax, Tax and more taxes. That's why people are moving out of state.

    Posted by Jerome L Pinckney February 20, 09 03:51 PM
  1. I'm right behind you. Not much for anybody here in this state. It gets worse and worse. Show us the job cuts and reform first. In fact, just do that and with the money you save, put it towards infrastructure. Oh wait, that would be too intelligent. Let's just tax the people more, and more, and more.......Time to get out the pitch forks. Hope you politicians are reading, the good people are keeping score.

    Posted by John C. Dickinson February 20, 09 04:28 PM
  1. Taxing people by the mile sounds assinine. Someone driving a Honda civic will get charged the same as someone driving a hummer.

    Posted by peter b February 20, 09 04:42 PM
  1. I really think he wants to make a real difference while he is in office, Yes I really hate that everything is going to get tax; however, somthing has to be done and anyone willing to take on the MBTA and all the union bodies is OK in my book

    Posted by Mr, Geting_Tax_In_MA February 20, 09 04:49 PM
  1. So let me get this straight, the MBTA sucks, it is badly managed, poor service and terrible decisions, and so Deval wants to tax me for even more dysfunction. Seriously how is that not a socialist system? I can' use the public system because I have to commute outside of Boston, it would take me 80 minutes each way everyday, and so I would get taxed?? Not if the citizens of this state vote that clown out, democrats need to be careful, people like Deal will bring back the crazy Republicans, can't win in this state, they will end up driving businesses away.

    Posted by Hayp February 20, 09 05:36 PM
  1. The Camaro SS wasn't "black flagged" -- it's a regular Camaro model and will continue. The group that was charged with developing future hi-po specials like the cars that would replace the CTS-V and a few other things in that niche was disbanded. Vehicles that start out as part of a planned lineup -- Corvette Z06, etc -- aren't affected.

    Which is good, because I look forward to a long future of circumventing the double-extra guzzler tax by buying my future high-performance cars lightly used. Anyone got a clean 06-07 CTS-V with light miles that they're looking to swap out of?

    Posted by John from Concord February 21, 09 05:57 AM
  1. The wear and tear on our roads is more dependant on the weight of the vehicle than on the mileage, so this is only fair if the per mile charge includes a multiplier based on gross vehicle weight, perhaps with a fractional multiplier for motorcycles and other vehicles that weigh less than one ton.
    And what about all of the people that live in boarder states and drive to work in MA every day? We will need tolls on all of the exits to the state that charge extra for cars without MA plates.

    Posted by LookingToLeaveMA February 21, 09 09:05 AM
  1. Sorry, that was unclear. I meant to say that future models like the Camaro SS - or Malibu SS, Cobalt SS, etc. - would be put on hold. The Camaro SS and all similar models that have already been approved will still be sold, but may not continue past the current generations.

    Posted by Clifford Atiyeh February 21, 09 12:23 PM
  1. How about reducing the maintenance costs and, hence, taxes need, by severely curtailing the most road destructive vehicles on our roads? Cars (and even Hummers and SUVs/pickups) do little damage to the state's roads but large cross country tractor-trailer rigs do an inordinate amount of damage. Further, their drivers are no longer the "white knights" of the roads from 30 years ago. Now, more than a few drive aggressively by tailgating you at 70+ mph in the left most lane of an interstate, falsifying driving logbooks so they can drive more miles, and driving equipment in need of repair. It is time to have a rational freight transportation system by moving all of this non-local freight transport to the rail roads (or perhaps ships) and have only local delivery trucks which operate overnight for deliveries. This would eliminate the downtown daytime double parking, time wasted when a truck enters an area where it can't maneuver, and the long road tie ups whenever one of this monster rigs crash shutting down an entire interstate for several hours to clean-up.

    Posted by Disinterested Observer February 21, 09 01:57 PM
  1. How about we start with cutting the pay of the toll collectors who make as much as 100,000 per year. As far as I'm concerened the girl at the register at walmart getting paid minimum wage is far more qualified, do you ever get the feeling our toll money just pays the salaries of the toll collectors and nothing else?????

    Posted by call me crazy February 21, 09 04:35 PM
  1. Patrick is turningout to be the worst governor Massachusetts has had.

    Instead of "cleaning up" the state of overpaid, underused state employees/MBTA employees & saving millions, he raises taxes. How about the toll employees making $75K + great benefits? For what? To take money from drivers all day. You could pay a hard working "legal" immigrant $25K & they would be over the moon. What a joke this state is . .....

    Posted by Michael Davis February 21, 09 05:44 PM
  1. Does everyone realize that placing a chip in our car is a violation of our civil rights...can you say big brother! I do not want my state to be able to track my movement all day and then bill me for it. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Posted by Trisha February 21, 09 09:41 PM
  1. i think this govenor is in way over his head. i also voted for this guy and he just lost my vote with this ridiculous idea of taxing drivers for miles driven.

    He had a one track mind and cannot think outside the box. I am officially calling him an idiot today!!

    Posted by Paul February 22, 09 08:19 AM
  1. Thanks again all you Democrat/socialists. Once more the unions are going to be subsidized on the backs of the working class. Did any of you morons really beleive Deval when he said he was gonna lower your property taxes ? So lets see -- Dveval is going to raise my gas tax $80 month and then double my license and registration fees then NObama is gonna borrow a trillion from my kids to give me $8 a week what a deal.

    Posted by Tedo February 22, 09 10:30 AM
  1. This is the most ludicrous plan I've ever heard,charging us for driving? is this a joke?? We already pay taxes for driving on HORRIBLE roads. Keep voting in these idiots...

    Posted by CD_____ February 22, 09 03:54 PM
  1. I am going out on a limb here. If we take away state pensions , I will support a gas tax,,ONLY if it is used to fill that awful " Tube in a Swamp", and make Boston a city worth driving into again. Then anyone whose name is in anyway attached to that hell hole can be put in jail for misappropriation of funds, abuse of power, and being a general nuisance.
    Rose Kennedy walk my butt. put a highway back where it belongs

    Posted by DaveW February 22, 09 04:29 PM
  1. Deval,
    It's a simple solution, cut the pay of the toll collectors and the problem is solved.
    We both know these are hack jobs and way overpaid. Do you think the people are stupid.

    Posted by jim m February 22, 09 05:37 PM
  1. The people need to revolt.

    Posted by tom February 22, 09 05:42 PM
  1. And you thought I looked stupid in the tank......

    Posted by mike dukakis February 22, 09 07:39 PM
  1. Patrick is out of control. When will the elected state officials finally realize they need to CUT THE FAT!!!!!! Not tax the private sector. My answer to him is this:

    1. Increase meal tax--I will not eat out;
    2. Increase gas tax- I will only drive for work and minimal pleasure;
    3. Increase sales tax-I will only buy what I need.

    The game is over--I am not playing anymore. The more they tax the more they choke any economic recovery.. The state will choke itself--just watch.

    Posted by jumbo21 February 22, 09 08:17 PM
  1. What ever happened to cutting spending. Over hauling the public pension system. Moving town workers into the State health care system. Raise the gas tax a dime for people that live and use 93. Or raise it and take down the toll booths. Sell the concessions on the pike. The legislator and the govenor are a joke. Cut their pay. There part time workers give them a part time salary.

    Posted by rlsrd February 23, 09 07:30 AM
  1. The gas tax increase is only the fairest way to spread the cost of addressing the entire transportation infrastructure, instead of dumping it all on airport users and MetroWest Boston commuters, already paying tolls.

    If and only if it is combined with a rationalization of the transportation bureaucracy, I'm for it. Getting rid of the Turnpike Authority is like getting rid of the MDC police. Why have two agencies doing the same things?

    Sure, it's a bit of Nanny State forcing us down the road of buying more fuel efficient vehicles because of higher taxes, but it's still more than $1 cheaper than fuel was last May.

    Posted by Steve February 23, 09 08:17 AM
  1. Why don't we just raise the gas tax by let's say, 5 cents, raise the tolls slightly and raise our state tax by .5 to 1%? Psychologically, people may accept this idea (with resistance of course) as the cost increase is spread out in different areas and the increases may not seem as dramatic. I rather not see this but if we have to do something, let's approach it with some smarts. Wait, we are talking about the government here. OOOOPPPPSSSS! We should have not been at this point and the Pike should have been taken down many years ago. They kept telling us the Pike was bringing income to the state yet never said much about the debt we were incurring! Typical politics!

    Posted by molliemax February 23, 09 10:12 AM
  1. I have a plan. Every week I am going to sign my paycheck over to Taxpatrick, go on welfare and go on with my life.

    Posted by halfaday February 23, 09 12:06 PM
  1. Fuel is cheaper now,what do you think the price of gas will be this summer. Not being a gambler, i would gamble on this one. I would guess well over $ 3.00, now add Taxpatricks fuel tax. you will be pushing $4.00

    Posted by Anonymous February 23, 09 12:12 PM
  1. Steve -- Keep drinking the Kool Aid. I bet you voted for Coupe Deval. Together We Can!

    Do not rationalize the gas tax by saying that gas isn't that expensive, so a tax is okay. The solution is to reduce spending. Reduce spending. Reduce spending. Massachusetts needs to reduce spending.

    Posted by Penelope February 23, 09 12:15 PM
  1. Taxed by the mile? Crazy! Many people need to live outside the city and commute in because it's too expensive to live near where they work. Maybe something should be done about that first!

    Posted by ED February 24, 09 01:09 PM
  1. I knew Devil Patrick ten years ago when he worked at Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta. He was an empty suit then void of any thought or insight, just like he is now. Based on what I saw then, I knew better than to vote for this idiot fraud. I told everyone I could about how "Together We Can" was code for "I will tax you like crazy". Can't wait until 2010 to vote this fool out of office... Jane Swift would be better than this guy.

    Posted by Barack February 24, 09 10:14 PM
  1. ED - that doesn't make any sense. Yes, it may be cheaper to have the large, single family house outside of where you work if where you work is the city. But then you just replace the added housing costs w/ commuting costs. Of course you could always live in a smaller residence either in the city or closer to the city and take mass transit, but you wouldn't do that would you? I live in the city and work in the city. I have a car, but choose to take a longer commute using the MBTA to get to work which saves me money on parking, gas, and wear and tear on my car. If you choose to live outside the city yet work in the city, well, essentially that's what has led to this country's huge suburban sprawl, and that's what things like a gas tax are meant to counteract. Living in the suburbs is a choice. But that choice, as you probably noticed when gas was $4/gal, can come at a hefty price.

    Posted by icpshootyz February 25, 09 11:36 AM
  1. I'm all for the revolution idea, but I also voted to do away with the State Income Tax. Where were the rest of you?

    Can we throw Gov Patrick in the Boston Harbor?

    Posted by LN February 25, 09 11:36 AM
  1. Serves most people in this state right. When confronted with the option of voting against income tax, popular consensus was to continue to pay it.... What did you think was gonna happen.... Sending a message to Beacon Hill that you aren't paying enough in taxes????????

    Posted by Chris Richardson February 25, 09 11:49 AM
  1. With this, it looks like MA will lose even more population. This 19cents goes thru and I buy my gas in NH. We are already paying high taxes for all the idiotic mismanagement. Enough is enough. Sell the drapes, sell the Caddy, get rid of the wife's personal assistant. Cut salaries and fire the boards that helped cause the mess. REDUCE SPENDING!!!

    Posted by Tracey February 25, 09 11:57 AM
  1. Remember, it still needs to get voted on. All the blame can't go to TaxPatrick if the House votes it in. Then we'll have to take names of all that voted in favor. Bad economy...what bad em up!

    Posted by Penniesonyoureyes February 25, 09 12:08 PM
  1. Deval has a brain pattern that runs in loops and is stuck on TAX THEM.
    We cant take anymore.

    VOTERS: Next time you go to the polls please vote for someone/name you DO NOT recognize. Get some fresh faces and new ideas into government. Stop complaining cuz you voted for the wrong person or party.

    Posted by MMole February 25, 09 12:09 PM
  1. I have no sympathy. Americans would drive to the crapper if they could find a parking space! Higher gas, fewer cars, decreased wear and tear on the roads, cleaner air, improved public health. What's the problem?

    It's high time we appreciated the personal car for what it is: a luxury.

    Posted by Paul Q February 25, 09 12:12 PM
  1. Would you morons stop it with the voting against the state income tax issue??

    How much HIGHER do you think the added taxes and fees would be going if the state tax were eliminated?? Why do you think getting rid of one revenue stream would somehow magically force the governor to start spending wisely??

    Spending needs to be streamlined and reduced. Until that happens, it doesn't matter what form the taxes come in, they're still going to ask for more when they don't manage the funds wisely.

    Posted by giveitarest February 25, 09 12:15 PM
  1. Now Patrick wants to tax anyone who Comments on the message board.

    Seriously, can we get a Republican back in office. This guy is a joke, bad one at that.

    Posted by zagnut February 25, 09 12:17 PM
  1. This state continues to vote in Democrats...that's why it's a mess and has been for years. PLEASE bring back Mitt Romney or another Republican on the next ballot. If you want to subsidize the laxy - keep voting Democrat....simple as that!

    Posted by Mitt February 25, 09 12:20 PM
  1. Wouldn't it be great if the cost to build and maintain roads was free? But they aren't free and the money needs to come from somewhere. What better way to fund road construction and maintenance than a tax that attempts to charge those to put more wear and tear on the roads more than those that don't? A gas tax is the perfect way to achieve this, at least in the short run. People who drive more and have heavier, less fuel efficient cars would pay more in taxes than those with lighter cars or who don't drive very often. As cars in general become more fuel efficient, then a higher tax rate would be warranted - but, the actual tax paid would remain the same because cars would be using less gas. At some point in the future when people are predominantly driving electric cars, then a different funding mechanism will need to be developed. But for now, a gas tax seems fair.

    If you don't want to pay the tax, then take Public Transportation, ride your bike, or walk.

    Blame the Governor all you want, but he isn't the one who let the coffers run dry.

    Posted by Jeff S February 25, 09 12:30 PM
  1. I'm only for the gas tax increase as long as it puts and end to all tolls and eliminates the jobs of our over-paid toll collectors. The only reason we're in this mess is because the MTA and MBTA are in over their heads paying outrageous salaries and pensions for employees that are paid double what they really should be making.

    Getting a job with the MBTA is like winning the lottery these days. That all needs to stop, but it certainly won't with Patrick.

    Posted by kdilkington February 25, 09 12:30 PM
  1. Charles Baker please run for governor. This guy has got to go. Together we can.

    Posted by Anonymous February 25, 09 12:39 PM
  1. I see this ws billed as a "Republican" Rally. This was a citizens rally. Democarts are gainst it as well.

    Posted by CentralMass February 25, 09 12:40 PM
  1. Wait a second, you morons vote this guy into office, you vote for people because they have a "D" next to their name, you vote to pay taxes and now you are upset and surprised that the government is trying to collect even more taxes? They think that is what you guys want!

    If you don't want taxes, change who you vote for. Vote against taxes, not for taxes! What a bunch of whiny hypocrites!

    Posted by Mikey "Insane" Monkeypants February 25, 09 12:57 PM
  1. Why should I have to pay more for gas when I already pay $4 a day to park at the commuter rail AND $12.50 a day for the actual commuter rail. I am already doing my job at taking public transit, why should I have to pay more? I hate dems, seriously. Not to mention the fact I've NEVER driven through the tolls, so why am I paying for something I don't do???? UNreal.

    Posted by Jillian February 25, 09 01:02 PM
  1. the people of Massachusetts were stupid enough to vote him in but past experience shows they will never be smart enough to vote him out of a second term... and he knows that
    the people of mass are stupid, they have proven that

    Posted by jack8027 February 25, 09 01:13 PM
  1. I work way too hard for my money for this freak to take it from me.......

    Posted by SocialismSux February 25, 09 01:14 PM
  1. How about telling all public sector employees across the state that their defined pension plans will be converted to 401K plans? This has been done in many private sector businesses. This will save millions in years to come and show that our government is serious about reform.

    Posted by Divya Mush February 25, 09 01:16 PM
  1. An increase in the gas tax is one more regressive tax that hurts average people. A toll on I-93 would be a lot more equitable because it would be paid by drivers going north and south too. Increasing taxes on all drivers at this time is a very bad idea and shows the eliteist attitude of a rich lawyer / govenor.

    Govenor, if you must raise taxes, increase the car excise tax on BMW's, Mercades, Lexus, and other luxury cars. We are at the begining of a nasty recession and it is not a time to raise taxes on average people. If you do, it will motivate me to move to New Hampshire so you will have one less taxpayer to irritate.

    Posted by Drew February 25, 09 01:17 PM
  1. Many of you argue for the gas tax increase because the roads, bridges, etc must be maintained and repaired, and that takes tax dollars. Of course this is true. What is also true but never spoken is that there is PLENTY of revenue coming in to do just that. What is also true but never said is that collecting tolls costs millions a year that could be saved by eliminating the collection system and selling the land where the plazas are. What is also true but never said is that more millions are wasted on lousy borrowing, wasteful management, inefficient operations, duplication of efforts, sweetheart benefits, retirement, and vacation deals, and a total lack of accountability at every level. SHOW US THE REORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT SKILLS BEFORE YOU RAISE TAXES!

    Posted by WVW West Newton February 25, 09 01:44 PM
  1. If Massachusetts voters are going to continue to return to office the same cast of characters election after election, then they have to be ready to accept the continuing escalation of taxes to pay for elected officials and their appointees' mistakes. There is a cost to entering the voting booth and blindly voting Democratic over and over again. Until we get elected officials who feel they have to worry about being thrown out over their bad decisions, nothing will ever change and marching around the state house will get them nothing but a little exercise!

    Posted by bert f. February 25, 09 01:45 PM
  1. Excise taxes are supposed to be paying for the construction and maintenance of our roads.

    What is this 19 cent increase for again? Because Patrick can't figure out a way to cut the fat? Or is it b/c taxation is the only solution he dare come up with? Either way, he's gone.

    Posted by Phil February 25, 09 01:57 PM
  1. I love all this creativity and effort that goes in to thinking up new ways of making us pay more. It all seems to dumb. No matter what, a tax is a tax is a tax. Call a spade a spade and tell us that the cost of living just took make jump in Massachusetts, and stop trying to isolate specific communities and constituents as the payees. This is all ridiculously imbalanced and appalling. And the North Shore gets screwed the most and no one cares. New Hampshire folks commuting in to Boston pay less than those from Lynn. Explain THAT.

    Posted by sickntired February 25, 09 03:08 PM
  1. It would be refreshing if some of the people making nasty remarks would provide some alternative proposals instead of just saying no to everything anyone suggests. Lets have your ideas.

    Mine is "lets have the gas tax...get rid of the tolls and the toll booths and the expensive toll takers" It gets rid of the expense of the management of the toll system and all of the accountants, support personal, etc.

    It also gets people to use more reasonable modes of transportation. If there is a better suggestion, lets have it.

    I keep thinking of the deadbeats who don't want to pay for the infrastructure they use. If we closed the Pike and let them drive through secondary roads, it would be what they deserve. If one wants to live in our society and enjoy its benefits, one should pay the dues. I am tired of those who whine. Phil Graham was right...we are a nation of whiners. Some have posted on this discussion today.

    Posted by Centrist February 25, 09 04:10 PM
  1. Disinterested,

    You make a good point about the big rigs tearing up the road. It is true that they cause most of the road damage.

    I wonder if our beer and pretzels (not to mention the big screen TV to watch the game) would cost more if we required big rigs to off-load at the border to smaller vehicles.

    As for the anti democrats in the crowd, My understanding of history is that most of our governors have been republicans. What did they do about the huge over-runs in the big dig? Didn't they pick the management of Massport???

    Posted by centrist February 25, 09 05:01 PM
  1. It will take years to replace the current fleet of automobiles and SUVs. We can use the gas tax to cover the cost of our transportation infrastructure in the short term, thereby providing an incentive for buying more fuel efficient vehicles. Then we should switch to increasing the income tax in the future. The chip in the car is an invasion of privacy and an extremely bad idea.

    After all, the infrastructure is not just for use of our cars, but for the shipment of goods that we all use. We should just consider it the cost of living in a modern society where we have access to fresh food that could not be grown in the middle of winter.

    I know that we will not be happy providing the infrastructure for vehicles just passing through. if the neighboring states will not reciprocate, we could have toll booths at borders for out-of-state vehicles.

    Posted by Centrist February 25, 09 05:20 PM
  1. Thank you Centrist for one of the few cogent comments on this board today. As I have said before, you don't like it here, see you later. I for one am sick and tired of driving on Third World roads. They got that way because nearly every dime of highway money that came into this state over the last 20 years was spent on the Big Dig. Perhaps that was a mistake but it's the reality on the ground now and now the buzzards have come home to roost. The infrastructure needs to be fixed and that takes...stay with me The gas tax is the most fair way to address the issue. The governor is exhibiting leadership. Thankfully, someone is.

    Posted by Slack February 25, 09 05:23 PM
  1. Centrist, you need to go further... Eliminate the lavish state pensions, cut the useless state agencies like the one that was put together to study the casino issue. and let's see the the fares for the MBTA go down after they are back in the black. THEN I'll accept the gas tax, not before. I'm a democrat that will be voting for the next republican or better yet, independent candidate. Christy Mihos, are you hearing this?

    Posted by az February 25, 09 06:03 PM
  1. AZ,

    What do all of these have to do with the roads? Do you believe that gas tax and road tolls go to agencies studying the casino issue?

    As for pensions, it is my understanding that government workers do not get social security. I think the original idea was that government workers would not have the same opportunity for income that one could get in the private sector. If this is out of control, this would be a good debate issue and an opportunity for investigative journalism.

    BTW, I don't like the casinos either. If we pay our dues, we will not have to try to get money form grandma gambling away her social security check.

    Posted by Centrist February 25, 09 07:13 PM

    Posted by Anonymous February 25, 09 09:20 PM
  1. Stop with the taxes and fees already. NOW IS OUR CHANCE TO REFORM GOVERNMENT. Deval has had two years to get the plans out there. End public pensions in favor of 401(k)'s like the rest of us. For those in the system, no pension until 60 years old. No double dipping. Cap the pensions at $50k. Take down the toll booths. IF you reduce government, you will not need as much money.

    Posted by D Brownb February 25, 09 09:49 PM
  1. by taxing individuals on the amount of miles that they drive as well as per gallon of gas, what is going to happen to the Massachusetts economy? no one will be taking trips to the cape during the summer or up to nh in the winter. Everyone will be relying on the faulty mbta system that is out of date and already at capacity. We are at a point in time where we are currently spending conservatively while gas is at 2 dollars a gallon, not 4. As one of the most expensive states to live in, why would be also want to have some of the highest taxes? I drive a six passenger Fuel Efficient truck for work purposes. I get just as good of gas mileage as a bmw 3 series and yet i am going to be targeted twice, at the time of purchase with a gas guzzlers tax as well as a state tax on top of that? This plan just seems like an act of desperation for they don't have the proper solution to the relief of the state's debt.

    Posted by Anonymous February 26, 09 02:53 PM
  1. The gas tax is a great idea for Massachusetts! Peopele would be more likely to choose the efficient vehicles. Since this state does not produce petroleum or cars, the less of them we use, the better.

    My calculation is that if a car drives 15,000miles per year and gets 20 mpg, you are using 750 gallons per year. With a $.2/gal increase, we are talking about $150 per year. This is NOT earth shaking - $.41 per day. That is a good buy.

    Oh yeah, lets get rid of cheats and excessive pension benefits. But don't confuse them with the virtue of a gas tax.

    Posted by myjunkymonkey February 26, 09 08:06 PM
  1. Stop any increase in state gas taxes.
    Centrist wrote "Disinterested,
    You make a good point about the big rigs tearing up the road. It is true that they cause most of the road damage. I wonder if our beer and pretzels (not to mention the big screen TV to watch the game) would cost more if we required big rigs to off-load at the border to smaller vehicles." And "After all, the infrastructure is not just for use of our cars, but for the shipment of goods that we all use. We should just consider it the cost of living in a modern society where we have access to fresh food that could not be grown in the middle of winter."
    The problem with many trucks is they weigh thousands of pounds over the legal limits, causing relatively rapid deterioration to the roads they travel. When was the last time anyone saw a weigh station operated? If the state put money into more state police patrols doing weighing operations and greatly increased fines/penalties for having overloaded trucks, Mass. would get a reputation among truckers as a state to avoid with an overweight load. This would make the roads last many times longer and decrease the need for FUTURE infrastructure repairs. As for current repairs..I say jack up all the tolls on the pike and add them at the NH border on Rts 3 and 95 (they charge Mass residents to come in already). You want to use the best toll roads, then pay for it. I'd also do timing the tolls too, with higher rates during prime commute times like 4-6 pm. Obama's admin has also proposed raising the federal gas tax. Will all of the writers here say that's OK if it ever happens? Will you attack the President the way you attack the Governor? After all, who is going to pay for the trillions in deficit spending? You are, so get used to it. Democrats need ever higher taxes to guide social policy like a crack addict needs his next fix.

    Posted by High_Taxes February 27, 09 06:23 AM
  1. When will Deval and his staff drive around in Smart cars or hybrid 4 cylinders instead of their fleet of SUV's and stop the bleeding of the state money.......Let's tax everyone by the mile to try to cut down people's driving, great idea. That is a great way to kill the already dying tourism industry. It is bad enough that people cannot take vacations and are trading down to take day trips in NE, but that wil stop.

    Posted by mike February 27, 09 07:36 PM
  1. Stupid idea !

    I would support a Federal gas tax increase that puts us all on a level playing field and encourages fuel conservation, but not one that puts me only at a disadvantage to my neighboring state.

    Appears the legislators are too lazy to work at cutting the fat. It's easier to lean on the citizen instead.

    Posted by DXS February 28, 09 09:43 PM
  1. I applaud everyone who had a good idea. Everyone who is just complaining is part of the fat that should get cut. MA has been suffering from bedroom states all along. The only way out of it I see is to have a federal license plate with a chip. Enact all speed pass tolls if you use the road you get charged. One factor that no one talks about is that roads don't last as long in NE because of the weather. Frost heaves do all the damage. The ground underneath the road is constantly moving. The big rigs help but not that much. You look at the roads where the temp is more moderate and they are all concrete. Once everyone switches to electric it will be cheaper to drive a gas powered vehicle. I always vote Libertarian. I moved out of Ma as well....

    Posted by Jay March 4, 09 08:23 PM
  1. That Devil Devall...that little devil! As tax payers we are sick and tired of feeling the full brunt of government inefficiencies. Instead of tightening up government agencies to be more productive and efficient they tax us until we are blue in the face! If I operated like that in my place of employment or they way I run my hosehold, I'd be out of a job and out on the street. Why shouldn't government officials be accountable to the same standards?

    Posted by OvertaxedTT31 March 5, 09 07:06 AM
  1. Will not be voting for Deval next time.

    Posted by wanna-get-outa-mass March 6, 09 01:07 PM
  1. Thank you Governor for having the guts to do the right thing. We need the gas tax to pay our bills and improve our infrastructure. Please pass it soon.

    Posted by PaulK March 6, 09 02:57 PM
  1. I come from Miami, Florida, was relocated by the company last december, I thought it was going to be a lot better here because the corruption down there, but still, the roads there are like new without a huge tax charge and no Excise tax either. There are really third world roads here and very dark also, I have bended a front wheel because of a big hole on the road and cost me a lot to replace it. I've herd about the waste of money on the MBTA, maybe they should privatize it. I think the state goverment is running out of ideas and is going for the easy way: tax everything.

    Posted by Martin March 6, 09 03:44 PM
  1. Last one out of the state please turn off the lights

    Posted by Anonymous March 7, 09 04:37 PM
  1. PaulK, you are an idiot. Instead of blindly raising taxes why don't you ask your legislators why they have not been fixing roads over the past 10 years while the economy was good. The answer is they were too busy growing government during the good times instead of taking care of business.

    Posted by rwc01 March 9, 09 12:53 PM
  1. Tax tax Tax the governor will earmark the gas tax for roads mbta bike paths wich has nothing to due with gas taxes this plan will be as good as the $1.00 tax on CIGS that has been used in the GENERAL FUND DON'T TRUST THEM remember 5% sales tax I'm old enough to remember VOLPE saying it was going to be temporay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They will never have enough!!!!!!!!!! PS If you only listened to Carla Howe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Anonymous March 10, 09 06:26 PM
  1. Here's an idea. Let's fill in the big dig and avoid billions in maintenance. We don't have to have a major highway running through Boston, just put big parking lots at 128 exits and run shuttle trams into town. It's only a matter of a few years before faulty design shoddy construction and the Atlantic Ocean do this for us anyway.

    Posted by Anonymous March 13, 09 03:00 PM
  1. Reorganize all the transportation agencies before you even think of asking for more money from the overburdened taxpayer.

    Posted by Handsome March 15, 09 10:11 AM
  1. I did not think I would every say this, but can we have Mitt Romney back. At least he tried to not raise taxes.

    Patrick was supposed to lower real estate taxes, transform transportation bureaucracy, take on police unions. Now the only discussion seems to be which taxes to raise and by how much.

    I have lived in 4 states in this union and this is, by far, the most corrupt. I wish that I could say that I would vote for a republican next time around, but there seems to be no republicans left who can stand up to this legislature. I can't wait for the day that I can move my familiy and my business out of here.

    Posted by Anonymous March 18, 09 11:35 AM
  1. A round of applause to "rwc01" with comment #72. The first sentence had me laughing. It had me thinking of the old 1970s or early '80s Saturday Night Live recurring skit with Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd, which was a satire of a 60 Minutes segment. It was a counterpoint type of argument, but usually started out with a line like "Jane, you ignorant slut."

    Posted by High_Taxes March 19, 09 11:48 AM
  1. Since about 70% of the MBTA and other agencies' budgets is dedicated to salaries, benefits and pension payments, the talk should be about how much improvement to the transportation infrastructure can be realized with the 30% that's left. Folks, 13.3 cents of that gas tax will go to government employees. Before anyone gets all crazy, of course the government needs good workers to run things efficiently. I, for one, however, will never support a tax increase without changing the way government hires and compensates its workers. They generally pay far less for their share of health insurance than do those in the private sector, where employee contributions average around 45% of the premium and public employees receive generous pensions with lifetime health insurance if they are employed long enough which don' t begin to compare with relatively lower social security benefits the rest of use must accept. Private sector pensions are virtually unheard of. Yes, we have 401k's but how's that been working out lately. Business as usual in this State must cease before we can be expected to pay more and more in fees and taxes

    Posted by pat peabody March 19, 09 02:43 PM
  1. I'm surprised Patrick has not drummed up "plankton" tax for the 60+ whales taking up residence in Massachusetts Bay.

    1 term and out. I knew it....

    Posted by dumbpatriot March 29, 09 08:41 PM
  1. So, we have the Turnpike authority which is mismanaged and now causes horrible traffic on holidays because toll collectors call-in "sick". The MBTA is mismanaged, provides horrible service, and is unreliable and slow. But yet we are suppose to pay higher fares for tolls and higher fares on the T, for more poor services that the Turnpike Authority and MBTA are providing us.

    Massachusetts residents need to take a stand against higer prices for continued poor services. If I felt the MBTA and the Turnpike ran smoothly and made my life easier I would have no problem forking over more money to keep it running smoothly. But, since I get poor service from the MBTA and Turnpike I have a hard time paying more for the same poor service.

    Posted by mikerph2002 April 14, 09 03:52 PM
  1. At the time when the federal government is trying to encourage spending by giving tax breaks this state is looking for every opportunity to thwart that goal. When the federal taxpayer is called upon to bailout car companies to give them a chance to restructure and renew their sales this state is trying to slow their sales down. Real nice.

    BTW - the roads here suck (and that's coming from one who grew up in Belarus) despite our already paying all kinds of taxes. Somehow I doubt that hire taxes will improve things much (I know 'cause I grew up in Belarus).

    Posted by Alex April 28, 09 03:57 PM
  1. You idiots do not get it. If he taxes you by the mile and you drive less they will simply raise the tax higher. They want money and are going to tax you to get it. No way around it.
    So morons think about it. If everyone stop driving they'll tax something else. How hard is that to understand. Oh, that's right. You elected this guy. 0's friend, too.
    Anyone ever see Duval and 0 at the same time?

    Posted by GWBush May 1, 09 09:23 PM
  1. Now what fool and their are many in this state of massachusetts will go along with the fool of fools DUVAL PATRICkS car plan after all this is the guy who would pick on the dam fools who buy lottery tickets when they don"t have two nickels to rub together, and wants to build them 3 casino within the state. If you were a news paper that was awake you would know how the poor people that are buying these lottery tickets CAN NOT AFFORD THEM .ITS very sad to watch husband and his wife sit down at the mall and scratch so many tiickets that you know most can not afford ..

    Posted by alexander May 3, 09 10:11 PM
  1. I am sorry to say I voted for Governor Patrick thinking he would have a few good ides.
    Taxing gas, charging by the mile and raising the tools do not represent 3 different taxes, they represent charging for the same usage multiple times. I have no choice but to drive to work given the limited public transportation in my area or deal with a 2.5 hour commute each way. With ideas like these it will be more cost effective not to work and just collect unemployment.

    Posted by Steve, Pembroke May 7, 09 11:22 AM
  1. Compared with California gas tax, this is nothing. The people that scream cut services are the same people who complain about roads, potholes, etc. The hardest thing about being in command s making decisions nobody likes.

    I can live with this, this was a hard decision, but with the condition of state roads this is a good thing.

    Posted by mfk3 June 2, 09 10:27 AM
  1. deval say's together we can,go to muzi ford in needham,that slogan is on the service wall,there for 40 yrs.he should have been more origanal.i'll vote for anybody but him.

    Posted by caw June 18, 09 08:21 AM

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