Mayor Should Not Support Local Road Tax Ballot Initiative
The State Needs To Fulfill Its Obligations
By Cassius Concitato
The Boston Globe Metro North Section this past Sunday featured an opinion piece by Mayor Kim Driscoll supporting Senate Bill 1474, An Act Relative To Regional Transportation Ballot Initiatives. This bill, if it were to become law would allow local municipalities to vote on the funding of local transportation projects.
Basically, like the Community Preservation Act (CPA) passed by Salem voters a few years back it would allow us to create a new local tax specifically for road and presumably sidewalk repair.
The backlog of state transportation projects is given as the primary reason for for implementing this new tax. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whose budget is well over $22 Billion apparently “does not have the money required to fix our aging infrastructure needs, let alone make the investments we need to sustain our economy.”
Leaving aside the argument that the Legislature just can’t seem to control spending no matter how many times they seem to try, this is just not the time to create a new local tax. The onus should rest with the Governor and the Legislature to prioritize within the existing budget.
This might work if the Commonwealth were to stop collecting those taxes and leave it all, collecting and spending in the hands of the cities and towns. Fat chance of that happening.
The CPA was a tough sell here in Salem. It took more than one attempt at the ballot before it finally passed. The fact i,s that no matter how strapped the Commonwealth claims to be, the average taxpayer is even more strapped. No matter how you look at, no one can deny that wages have not kept kept pace with the cost of living. Homes, fuels costs, cars, and grocery costs continue to rise while wages stagnate. If wages do not rise then what they actually do is regress.
Yes our roads and sidewalks are a mess. Yes we complain about that a lot and yes we want them fixed. It should be done however. with the taxes already paid.
The argument that “it’s only a small amount of money from your wallet” does not, and will not fly. Too many of those small hits are beginning to add up.
Enough is enough.