On the same morning that a trio of new taxes went into effect, Massachusetts Republicans descended on a Dorchester gas station to protest the hikes that will raise the price of gas in this state.
The tax increases — on gasoline, tobacco products, and certain computer software services — are part of the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s recently-passed initiative to help fund transportation infrastructure.
“I want to wish everyone a happy Taxachusetts Day,” Kirsten Hughes, the chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party greeted the crowd.
“We’re out here,” she said, “to remind voters that Democrats are the reason their gas prices are higher today.”
After the stroke of midnight Wednesday morning, taxes went up 3 cents per gallon on gasoline, a dollar a pack on cigarettes. The state’s 6.25 percent sales tax will also now be applied to certain computer software services.
The new revenue generated by the additional taxes will help pay for the MBTA, personnel at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, regional transit authorities, and some construction projects.
GOP legislators at the event said there were better ways to finance the state’s transportation needs.
“The Senate Republicans put a plan on the table that generated over $2 billion without having to do this to motorists in the Commonwealth,” said state Senate minority leader Bruce E. Tarr, Republican of Gloucester.
Standing behind Hughes were a handful of Republican lawmakers, as well as supporters wielding signs with hand-written messages: “AXE THE GAS TAX” and “PUT THE BRAKES ON GAS TAX.”
“I think it was wrong for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Legislature to pass another burden on to the taxpayers,” said state Representative Vinny deMacedo, Republican of Plymouth, who owns a Mobil gas station. He said given that people are still struggling economically, “we shouldn’t have gone back after the taxpayers whether the gasoline tax, the cigarette tax or the innovation tax.”
Adam Winter, the president of SwiftecIT, an IT computer service company in Shrewsbury, also spoke at the event. Beginning today, he said, he would have start charging sales tax when he installs software on his customers’ computers. He said that the new application of the sales tax would have a particularly pernicious impact small businesses like his.
“Large companies have their internal staff and don’t need to hire outside consultants so they’re not going to have to pay this service tax, only the small businesses will,” he said.