• Why did lawmakers tie gas tax to inflation?


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- The price at the pump hurts just about everyone. It's about $3.69 a gallon in Massachusetts which has some wondering why lawmakers decided to tie the gas tax to inflation.

    Republicans are seizing upon automatic gas tax increases, and the ballot effort to repeal them because they believe it has potential to bring out mainstream voters in heavily Democratic territory. If it makes it on the ballot, it has the potential to shape the outcome of this year's election.

    “Charlie Baker is going to be looking for the independent vote. And many of these independent voters are concerned about taxes and have families and drive on our roads,” Michael Kryzanek, professor of political science at Bridgewater State University

    He went on to say, “I think what the Democrats have on their side is the terrible state of their roads and the transportation infrastructure.”

    Last year lawmakers on Beacon Hill raised the gas tax by three cents to 24 cents a gallon. They also indexed the tax to inflation, and that means it automatically goes up by the same annual percentage as the US consumer price index. Republicans call it taxation without representation, and are rallying behind the repeal effort. Democrats say the tax hikes are a critical source of funding for road and bridge repairs, but also to pay for projects like the SouthCoast rail and the MBTA green line extension.

    The effort still needs signatures, enough to qualify. Organizers hope to have them in the next three weeks.

    Next Up: