As Lawmakers Debate Gas Tax Increase, Opponents Rally Outside

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — As Massachusetts House of Representatives debates a gas tax increase inside the State House, protesters rally against the measure outsidte.

Members of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Best Ally PAC claim the House is trying to ram through a five-cent gas tax increase, ignoring the will of the voters.

Six years ago, voters approved a ballot question repealing a law that allowed for automatic annual gas tax hikes.

MTBA President Holly Robichaud called the latest House move a money grab.

"Today, we are calling for our state auditor to do an audit of the Department of Transportation, and do an audit of the MBTA," she said. "It's been over five years since those agencies have been audited, and we know that the spending is out of control, and it's time to take back our state."

Democratic House leaders say the extra money is needed to help fund repairs for the MBTA and the public transportation system in the metro Boston area.

But Robichaud said the T doesn't use its existing funding correctly.

"The MBTA is spending $100 million on overtime," Robichaud said. "That's a management problem, that's not that they don't have the funds. They are not spending the funds correctly. We believe they need to do an audit, and they need to do that before they even consider raising taxes."

Stoneham Selectwoman Caroline Colarusso is also against the tax increase.

"We have enough of Beacon Hill raiding our wallets," she said.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports

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