Local Republican Candidates Oppose Gas Tax Hike

HYANNIS – Two local Republicans running for state representative seats are expressing their opposition to proposed legislation that would increase the gas tax.

Fifth Barnstable District State Representative candidate Steven Xiarhos and the party’s nominee for Plymouth and Barnstable State Senate Jay McMahon believe transportation infrastructure projects are possible without raising the gas tax.

The bill would increase the gas tax by 5 cents per gallon – 9 cents for diesel, increase fees on ride-hailing services and end a sales tax exemption for the purchase of vehicles by rental car companies.

It would generate about $600 million per year to fund transportation initiatives.

McMahon said the state needs to stop abusing taxpayers. He said the regressive tax puts new burdens on businesses.

“Our state spends $675,000 per mile per year on road maintenance,” McMahon said. “You cannot tell me with that expenditure savings cannot be found.”

Xiarhos said he supports addressing the state’s transportation issues but not by increasing taxes.

“Massachusetts voters clearly said they don’t want to raise the gas tax, and I agree with them,” Xiarhos said. “Raising the standards of our transportation network shouldn’t require raising taxes on Massachusetts commuters. Period.”

The bill passed through the House last week and will now be considered by the Senate.

The last gas tax hike in Massaachusetts was in 2013 when it was increased by 3 cents. The next year, voters rejected annual increases tied to inflation.

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