Two local Democratic freshmen state legislators are frustrated that Gov. Deval Patrick’s veto of the $500 million transportation bill put them in the position of having to vote for an override that increased taxes.
Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, and Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, said the veto meant they had to vote to override him even though it meant the transportation bill funded by increases to the state gasoline tax by 3 cents per gallon, the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and the application of sales taxes to certain software upgrade purchases would become law.
Both women voted against the proposal earlier because they opposed a tax increase they feared would push more of their constituents to shop across the border in New Hampshire instead of in their hometowns. And both said they still oppose the increases.
The vote opened them to attacks of changing their votes or buckling under pressure from their leadership and labels of being flip-floppers, they said.
“It is my hope that any political games over this would be stopped,” DiZoglio said. “I have one of the most bipartisan voting records in the House right now. My Republican colleagues and I were on the same page regarding this tax vote. Unfortunately, we differed on whether or not to sustain the governor’s veto.”
Each house of the Legislature voted twice on the transportation bill earlier this year, once on each chamber’s own version and once on a second version worked out between the two chambers that included more than $800 million in new revenue annually after several years. DiZoglio and O’Connor Ives voted against it each time because of the tax increases.
“I live in a border community and we’re constantly battling to keep shopping local, and it’s too easy for someone to cross the border and buy these things,” DiZoglio said.