Massachusetts Automatic Gas Tax Increase Repeal Initiative

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The Massachusetts Automatic Gas Tax Increase Repeal Initiative, Question 1 was on the November 4, 2014 statewide ballot. Approved by voters, the measure repeals a 2013 law that would automatically adjust gas taxes according to inflation, allowing for automatic annual increases in the state's gas tax.[1]

The law that this initiative repeals would also have put a minimum cap on gas taxes to prevent gas tax decreases in the case of deflation. The tax increase was part of a transportation funding package that was vetoed by Governor Deval Patrick (D) because he wanted an even greater tax increase. Patrick's veto was overruled by a House vote of 123 to 33 and a Senate vote of 35 to 5.[2]

Tank the Gas Tax, an organization supporting the initiative, stated that they collected at least 18,500 signatures by June 9, 2014. They turned in the signatures on June 18, 2014 in an attempt to qualify the initiative for the ballot.[3] The measure was certified for the 2014 ballot on July 2, 2014.[4]

The question passed with 53% of voters in favor.[5]

Text of measure[edit]

Ballot summary[edit]

[6]

Full text[edit]

[6]

Background[edit]

State gas tax[edit]

In 2013, the Democrat-controlled state legislature passed House Bill 3847, which raised the state's gas tax from 21 to 24 cents per gallon and automatically tied the tax rate to inflation for future years, meaning it would increase by the same annual percentage as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This marked the first increase in the tax since 1991. Given that the CPI has averaged approximately one or two percent during the past several years, the tax would likely increase by half a penny or less per year.[7][8]

Voter guide summary[edit]

Support[edit]

The measure is sponsored by the group Tank the Gas Tax.[9]

Supporters[edit]

Officials[edit]

Individuals[edit]

  • Jeffrey T. Kuhner, President of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Renewal[12]
  • Bill Vernon, Director and National Federation of Independent Business Massachusetts[13]

Arguments[edit]

  • Tank the Gas Tax deemed the tax a slippery slope.[9]

Campaign contributions[edit]

Total campaign cash
as of October 30, 2014
Support: $94,318
Opposition: $1,884,722

As of October 30, 2014, one campaign organization had received an aggregate total of $94,318 in contributions.[14]

PAC info:

PAC/Ballot measure group Amount raised Amount spent
Committee to Tank the Automatic Gas Tax Hikes $94,318 $75,173
Total $94,318 $75,173

Top contributors: |- | A1 Auto || $10,000 |- | Liberty Initiative Fund || $5,000 |- | Strong Economy for Growth || $5,000 |- | Strong Economy Massachusetts Independent Expenditures PAC || $5,000 |- | Massachusetts Ambulance Association || $2,500 |- |}

Opposition[edit]

The official opposition campaign is called Vote No on Question One, in conjunction with the Committee for Safer Roads and Bridges.[15]

Opponents[edit]

Arguments[edit]

Campaign contributions[edit]

As of October 30, 2014, one campaign organization had received an aggregate total of $1,884,722 in contributions.[14]

PAC info:

PAC/Ballot measure group Amount raised Amount spent
NO on One Committee $1,884,722 $438,200
Total $1,884,722 $438,200

Top contributors: |- | CIM Advancement Fund|| $200,000 |- | American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts|| $145,000 |- | Mass Aggregate & Asphalt Pavement Association|| $100,000 |- | Suffolk Construction Company, Inc. || $100,000 |- | Utility Contractors Association of New England Inc. || $100,000 |- | Flagship Associates LLC || $90,000 |- |}

Media editorial positions[edit]

Support[edit]

Opposition[edit]

Polls[edit]

External links[edit]

Basic information[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ News Telegram, "Referendums could deep-six casinos, gas tax," November 29, 2013
  2. ^ Masslive.com, "Massachusetts lawmakers override Gov. Deval Patrick's veto of bill to raise taxes by $500 million," July 24, 2013
  3. ^ Tank the Gas Tax, "Signature Collection," June 9, 2014
  4. ^ New England Public Radio, "4 Ballot Questions Before Mass. Voters," July 3, 2014
  5. ^ "Election Results – Nov. 4, 2014" WBZ. November 6, 2014
  6. ^ a b Massachusetts Secretary of State, "Question 1: Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing," accessed September 17, 2014
  7. ^ Fox News, "Automatic gas tax emerging as key campaign issue in Massachusetts," May 26, 2014
  8. ^ Tax Foundation, "Massachusetts Ballot Referendum Challenges Gas Tax Indexing," July 22, 2014
  9. ^ a b Tank the Gas Tax website, accessed March 14, 2014
  10. ^ Worcester Telegram & Gazette, "Repeal of casino law, capping eternal gas tax, among ballot questions," December 9, 2013
  11. ^ Cape Cod Today, "Gas tax indexing question on 2014 ballot," November 22, 2013
  12. ^ Washington Post, "Boston’s second Tea Party," December 5, 2013
  13. ^ a b The Daily Free Press, "Massachusetts advocacy networks weigh in on four upcoming ballot questions," October 30, 2014
  14. ^ a b OCPF, "Question 1: Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing," accessed October 30, 2014
  15. ^ Vote No on Question One, "FAQs," accessed September 30, 2014
  16. ^ Boston Herald, "Gov. Patrick lashes out at push to repeal gas tax law," December 2, 2013
  17. ^ Medford Transcript, "Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn supports No vote on Question 1," October 22, 2014
  18. ^ Massachusetts Secretary of State, "Massachusetts Information for Voters: 2014 Ballot Questions," accessed September 30, 2014
  19. ^ "Yes on Question 1". News Telegram. October 6, 2014.
  20. ^ "No on Question 1: Keep gas tax tied to inflation". The Boston Globe. October 22, 2014.