A self-inflicted wound

By EDITORIAL  |  May 20, 2009

State senators have now joined their House colleagues in opting for a large sales-tax increase — moving up from 5 percent to 6.25 percent and expanding the base on which sales taxes are paid. But, remarkably, the two chambers are more than a quarter-billion dollars apart in their estimates of how much revenue that increase would generate. The State Senate, which is counting on just $633 million, also added a retail liquor-sales tax and a local-options meals tax, which will let Boston and other municipalities raise their own extra revenues. It will be interesting to see whether the House goes along with those additional taxes.

Both chambers, however, have rejected the much more sensible gas-tax increase proposed by Governor Deval Patrick — who was in Washington yesterday for the historic announcement of new national fuel-efficiency and emissions standards. The White House ceremony demonstrated that agreement is possible when working on reducing gasoline consumption. The state legislature has not gotten that news.

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