Supporters few and far between for Charlie Baker and his gas tax proposal
Taxation without representation has always been a non-starter in Massachusetts, all the way back to the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
But Gov. Charlie Baker (rhymes with Faker) apparently never learned the lessons of his Tory forebears, and now in his political dotage he’s come to fancy himself the reincarnation of King George III — essentially trying to double the state’s gasoline tax without a vote by either the Legislature or the people.
The only way Tall Deval’s multi-billion-dollar heist known as TCI would work is if every state between the Canadian border and Virginia signs on.
Alas, the reviews are pouring in, and what can now be called Baker’s Folly turns out to be a regional, bipartisan flop.
GOP governor of New Hampshire: “A financial boondoggle.”
Democrat governor of Connecticut: “Probably not the way to go.”
GOP governor of Vermont: “I simply cannot support (tax grabs like TCI).”
Democrat speaker of the Rhode Island House: “(It) will be looked at very skeptically.”
Mass. state GOP chairman: “Let them fund their initiatives with the untold millions that Beacon Hill has already robbed from taxpayers.”
Vermont union president: “Most Vermonters have jobs they actually have to show up for and can’t ‘work from home.’”
And some skeptical states have yet to be heard from — Pennsylvania, for example, which has Republican majorities in both branches of its Legislature. It would be reassuring to think that everyone lining up against this highway robbery is really channeling the Sons of Liberty who threw the tea into Boston Harbor.
But at least in some cases you can detect the whiff of political expediency here.
Connecticut’s got other new taxes up its destitute sleeve, for instance, and doesn’t need to be cutting the “region” in on the score. Tall Deval’s gasoline hara-kiri would be an amazing boon to the economy of New Hampshire — much bigger than the banning of menthol cigarettes in the Bay State in June.
But most significantly, this is a presidential election year. The turnout will be way, way up, and this kind of outrageous tax hike would be political dynamite. It’s one thing for hacks to give the middle finger to their constituents, but none of them want to be photographed doing it.
Except, of course, Tall Deval.
Now, of course he will say that all the billions from this Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) will be “earmarked,” which is impossible to do, and that after global warming is solved and polar bears everywhere are safe, the tax, I mean fee, will be “sunsetted.”
Sunsetted — you know, like the tolls on the Mass Pike were sunsetted, to be taken down after the initial bonds were paid off.
TCI is just another income redistribution scheme, transferring money from the people who actually earned it to clowns like the now-fired “director of sustainability” at Babson College, in other words nonprofit scam artists who were passed over for one of those phony-baloney $300,000-a-year associate deputy senior interim vice chancellor jobs at UMass.
Maybe if the Patriots were still in contention, Tom Brady would have diverted enough attention away from the State House to allow Tall Deval to pick our pockets without most people realizing they were being robbed until it was too late.
But now the alarms are ringing, the red-dye packs have exploded, and Tall Deval is busted.
How will he describe this latest smash-and-grab next week in his annual State of the State address? I mean, after he takes a few bows for his remarkable stewardship of the MBTA, the State Police, the RMV, UMass, DCF and every other dysfunctional state agency.
If you want to learn more about Baker’s new gasoline tax, go to www.massfiscal.org. There you will be directed to the TCI hacks’ own website, where you can leave your comments.
Here’s a small sample of the hundreds of thumbs-down:
Mary from Rhode Island: “This tax is a ridiculous fraud funded by money-grubbing grifters.”
Bill from Framingham: “I want to stop Gov. Baker’s GAS TAX.”
Ron from Vermont: “If you really want to stick it to the poor and particularly to people who work for a living, raise the price of gas.”
Feel free to put in your own two cents, before Tall Deval and the mullah-loving erstwhile director of sustainability steal it from you.
Maybe you should remind Baker that, as you can see from this photograph from 2014, he used to be against taxation without representation before he was for taxation without representation.