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Massachusetts Lawmakers Outline Bump in Gas, Cigarette Taxes

The bill would add 3 cents per gallon to the state’s gasoline tax. In addition, the measure would increase the cigarette tax by $1.
April 4, 2013

​BOSTON – While retailers are denouncing Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget that includes a hike in the cigarette tax, Massachusetts lawmakers are crafting their own proposal to solve the state’s funding problems with an increase in the gas and cigarette taxes, the Patriot-Ledger reports.

Under a bill proposed this week by the House and Senate, the state gas tax would jump 3 cents per gallon and the state cigarette tax would advance $1 per pack. Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo said that their measure would bring in more than $500 million in annual revenue to fund transportation. The proposal also contains new taxes on smokeless tobacco and cigars.

Currently, Massachusetts has a state gas tax of 21 cents, and the proposal would bump that up 3 cents beginning in 2015, with future increases indexed to inflation. That would translate into the average driver shelling out between $12 and $30 more per year in gasoline taxes.

The proposal based its reasoning on declining consumption of gasoline, a trend the sponsors think will continue over the next five years. The bill’s summary stated that “a small increase to the gas tax combined with indexing for inflation is sensible and reasonable.”

Many other states are looking to gas tax increases or changes to fund transportation expenses.