Connecticut Suspended Their Gas Tax, What About Massachusetts?
Massachusetts residents are searching for any kind of relief they can get at the pump as gas prices hold steady at some of the highest prices the state has seen in over 15 years.
Currently, the average price of gasoline in Massachusetts is holding steady at $4.65, which is actually down slightly from last week. That's just above $0.12 above the national according to AAA.
Many states have been looking for a way to give residents some relief at the pump amidst sky-high prices including Massachusetts neighboring state of New York and more recently Connecticut.
A few weeks ago amidst surging gas prices, the Connecticut State Senate and House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that suspends the state’s 25-cent excise tax on gasoline until June 30. The bill also suspends the state’s 6.35 percent sales tax on clothes and foods under $100 from the week of April 10 to April 16 and makes all public buses in the state free for the same period as the gas tax suspension. The emergency bill bypassed the committee process and was introduced by the Democratic and Republican leaders of both houses. It was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont on Thursday morning.
So what about Massachusetts? The Massachusetts House recently rejected an amendment to the supplemental budget that would have given drivers in the Bay State a break at the pump by suspending the gas tax. However, the amendment was rejected. If it passed, it would have suspended the 24-cent gas tax any time gas prices jumped over $4 a gallon and reinstated it when prices went back under $3.70.
So why didn't it pass? Some members of the house billed it as a political gimmick as Massachusetts is approaching the state's upcoming gubernatorial election. The amendment was proposed by state Rep. Peter Durant (R-Spencer) but echoed the proposal brought up by Republican candidate Chris Doughty, whose running mate for lieutenant governor, Kate Campanale, is married to Durant, according to WBUR.
The Boston Herald said that opponents to the bill need to come up with proposals that provide “real relief for families." Another noted that losing guaranteed revenue streams like the gas tax could negatively impact the state’s bond rating as well as possibly also cutting into funding for future large-scale transportation projects.