The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance made the following statement today in response to yesterday’s State House News Service interview with Speaker Bob DeLeo in which the Speaker reaffirmed his support for advancing his transportation bill, which includes an increase to the state’s gasoline and diesel tax to the tune of $600 million.
The Speaker even went as far as saying he would extend the legislative session past the July 31 deadline in order to get his tax increases passed. The Speaker also signaled his continued support for pushing through a “climate change bill” to the State House News Service, the details of which are unknown.
The State House News story from April 6 stated, “DeLeo, who talked with Gov. Charlie Baker and Senate President Karen Spilka on Monday, said no decisions have been made about trying to meet beyond July 31 this year, but told the News Service it would be his recommendation to extend the session if the Legislature had still not finished the budget, a climate change bill or transportation financing. "I'll put health care in that category as well, although I'm uncertain as to whether this virus will change that discussion and how the state responds to a pandemic," DeLeo said in a brief phone interview.”
“The speaker and other State House leaders appear to be out of touch with the current reality in the state. They cannot continue to push their agenda of tax increases as if we were in the same economic situation as a month ago. Tens of thousands of workers are unemployed and countless businesses have been shut down or are surviving day by day. The economic depression our state now finds itself in stands in sharp contrast to the Speaker’s focus on legislation that seeks to increase state spending and raise taxes. That bill was crafted in the midst of an economic boom and has little connection with the current reality Massachusetts residents now find themselves in,” stated Paul D. Craney, spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
“It’s rare for a lawmaker to be a business owner, and it’s even rarer for them to sympathize with the small business community, but that is what is needed right now. Tax increases, including the Speaker’s gasoline and diesel tax increase, the Governor’s TCI gas tax, or the Senate President’s California style carbon tax should all be abandoned. I know that may be hard for them to hear but taxpayers and small businesses are making countless sacrifices. Our State House leaders should be doing the same,” concluded Craney.