State Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) is opposing a House-backed proposal to raise the state gas tax and implement additional policy changes that would collectively increase taxes on Massachusetts residents and employers by more than $600 million.
Lombardo voted against House Bill 4508, an act relative to transportation finance, due to concerns about how the bill would adversely impact the state’s taxpayers and hinder job growth. During floor debate, he supported several amendments designed to eliminate, mitigate or delay the proposed tax increases, but these efforts were unsuccessful.
House Bill 4508 was engrossed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 113-40 on March 4, and will now move to the Senate for further consideration.
Under the bill, the motor vehicle gasoline excise tax would rise from $0.24 per gallon to $0.29 per gallon, while the tax on diesel fuel would increase from $0.24 per gallon to $0.33 per gallon. According to the Boston Herald, an analysis conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute estimates these proposed increases would result in the loss of 3,000 jobs and $93 million in business investment in just the first year while depriving Massachusetts residents of $843 million in disposable income and costing the state economy $207 million in lost production.
House Bill 4508 also calls for a restructuring of the corporate minimum excise tax for companies with annual sales exceeding $1 million. Currently set at $456, the corporate minimum excise tax would be replaced with a nine-tiered structure that would result in some businesses paying a minimum excise of as much as $150,000. Lombardo said this change would put Massachusetts employers at a competitive disadvantage.
Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) would also be impacted by the House bill, which would implement new fees on shared, non-shared and luxury rides of $0.20, $1.20 and $2.20, respectively, but would bar TNCs from passing these fees onto consumers and drivers. The bill also eliminates the existing sales tax exemption for new vehicles purchased by car rental companies.
Among the amendments supported by Lombardo were proposals to:
Provide cities and towns with a permanent exemption from the gasoline excise tax;
Retain the existing corporate minimum excise tax;
Repeal the tax increases included in the bill if the proposed Millionaires Tax ballot question is approved by Massachusetts voters in November of 2022;
Delay the implementation of the proposed tax increases until the Executive Office of Administration & Finance and the Department of Revenue can complete a study of the taxes’ projected impact on the Massachusetts economy and their revenue impact on the state’s cities and towns