BOSTON (WWLP) - A historic day in Massachusetts, within a week you'll see the price of gas, tobacco, and certain business services go up. The state Legislature overrode Governor Deval Patrick's veto of a $500 million dollar tax bill that's projected to generate $800 million dollars in revenue for the state's transportation needs by 2017. The final vote in the House was 123 to 33, in the Senate, 35 to 5 – Both far greater than the two thirds majority needed for an override.
"The governor feels very strongly about transportation as well as other issues and I have to respect him for that. On the other hand I think that what we did as a House, you know, was good legislation, was fiscally prudent," said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthop).
Those voting to sustain the veto were mainly Republicans who unveiled a gold-framed notice outside the House chamber, mimicking traditional birth announcements by the British Royal family.
"What a great model for us to announce the birth of the permanent gas tax increase in Massachusetts," said Rep. Dan Winslow (D-Norfolk). Winslow argues that by increasing the gas tax and tying future gas tax increases to the consumer price index, the state Legislature is sanctioning "an automatic gas tax increase forever more" that is effectively "taxation without representation."
Within seven days Massachusetts residents will see a hike on the gas tax by 3 cents a gallon, the cigarette tax will go up by one dollar per pack and the state's 6.25 percent sales tax will be tacked onto certain computer software services.
"They are not a pleasant endeavor to raise revenues, it never is. However …there's a balanced approach to our revenues that will address the needs of the Commonwealth's transportation infrastructure for the next eight years at least," said Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre).
The state Legislature also overrode some of the governor's state budget vetoes, including one that threatened to slash $177 million dollars from the budgets of cities and towns.