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Mass. GOP Chair Jim Lyons: Be wary in 2020 of new Beacon Hill gas tax

State Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover.

WOBURN -- Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons said Tuesday that while the overdue rollback of the state’s income tax in 2020 should be celebrated, Bay State taxpayers have reason to be wary in the coming year of a new Beacon Hill gas tax disguised as a “climate initiative.”

In 2000, former Gov. Paul Cellucci helped lead the successful citizens’ ballot initiative to roll back the state’s income tax rate all the way from a high of 5.9% to 5%. Democrats on Beacon Hill, however, managed to stall the rollback for the next 20 years. 

Lyons praised Cellucci on Tuesday but cautioned that unless more common sense Republicans join the ranks on Beacon Hill, it is almost certain that working Massachusetts families will take a financial hit in the form of the so-called Transportation and Climate Initiative. That measure would institute a new gas tax of up to 17 cents per gallon during its first year. 

“We don’t have a revenue problem here in Massachusetts, we have a spending problem,” Lyons said. “Here’s a proposal: let them fund their initiative with the untold millions of dollars that Beacon Hill has already robbed from taxpayers since the time the rollback should have taken effect decades ago. 

“The taxpayers sent a message to Beacon Hill when they voted in 2014 to overturn a different automatic gas tax scheme, but it looks like Beacon Hill didn’t listen.” 

Lyons said while he supports making improvements in Massachusetts’ transportation infrastructure, the state’s out-of-control spending habits should be addressed first. 

“This state is already awash in taxpayer cash,” Lyons said. “When will it ever be enough?” 

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