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July 25, 2013

Legislators override Patrick veto, raise taxes


“The governor’s transportation package in my opinion would have had a very negative impact on our economic growth here in the commonwealth,” said state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen. “The package the Legislature put forward was modest and very appropriate in terms of directing money to road and bridge repair.”

Republicans have opposed any form of tax increase for transportation, arguing funding already exists to increase spending on both transportation and education.

State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, said in a statement the new transportation law “put us on an unsound path of increasing taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars without first capturing promised savings from reform (and) burdening motorists with fuel taxes that will increase without legislative approval into perpetuity.”

“Clearly our transportation systems need improvement, but the path chosen today subordinates savings, reform and economic growth to the types of taxing and spending solutions that have caused so many problems in the past,” he said.

Tarr was one of the five senators to vote against the override; 35 voted in favor.

State Rep. James Lyons, R-Andover, said revenue in the fiscal year that just ended came in at $600 million more than was projected last summer, though some of that surplus has been spent. He also argued that expenses in the MBTA need to be reviewed before more money is pumped into the agency.

“There is plenty of revenue within the state budget,” he said.

Lyons was one of 33 state representatives to vote against the override; 123 voted in favor.

The transportation proposal that became law yesterday included tax increases estimated at $500 million this fiscal year, which began July 1, by raising the gasoline tax, raising the cigarette tax and including certain software and computer services in the sales tax. Those new rates go into effect Wednesday.

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