Massachusetts Senate Moves on Transportation Bill
- Apr 15, 2013 | Gail Cole
Last Saturday, the Massachusetts Senate engaged in what Senate President Therese Murray called a "long, thoughtful debate" over a transportation bill and its 110 amendments. S. 1766--a bill the Senate hopes "does not unnecessarily burden working families and businesses"--now moves to the House for consideration.
Details were not hammered out in only one day. According to the Malden Observer, "Senators said differences over amendments had been talked through during a long, private caucus."
The Senate's plan "includes about $500 million in new taxes." These include, but are not limited to:
- A 3-cent per gallon gas tax increase;
- A future gas tax increase tied to inflation;
- A $1 per pack cigarette tax increase;
- An increase in cigar and smokeless tobacco excise tax; and
- An expansion of the sales tax to computer design services and software modifications.
Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick (D) had hard words for the House proposed Transportation Bill: "Basically, Leadership's proposal raises taxes and fees on drivers everywhere to fix the T's operating deficit and little else…. This bill is neither sufficient nor fair."
The governor's comments about the Senate's proposal were more encouraging. He called the bill "a significant step" towards fulfilling the transportation needs of the people of Massachusetts." He concluded on a positive note: "I commend [the Senate] for their work."
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