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Most of Chelmsford's Legislators Opposed To Replacing Gas Tax With "Pay Per Mile" Fees

A proposal on Beacon Hill is drawing ire from the majority of Chelmsford's legislative delegation.

Recently a hearing was held for legislation proposed on Beacon Hill to replace the gas tax with a "pay by the mile" vehicle tax that would be studied in a pilot program.

State Representative Carl Sciortino (D-Medford) was the lead sponsor on the bill, and he also proposed a similar bill based on "pay by the mile" rates for car insurance as well. 

Last week, the Lowell Sun reached out to local legislators, who were almost uniformly opposed to the measure. Here's what Chelmsford's legislators said in the Sun. Let us know your thoughts in the comments! 

State Senator Mike Barrett... "I'm truly in favor of exploration and experimentation....With respect to any tax system, we want it to be fair and effective."

State Representative Jim Arciero... "I think a lot of folks would be uncomfortable with providing all their information to the state, and what they do and how they do it... That is something that needs to be looked at."

State Representative David Nangle... "And now you're going to have the government tracking your location? Enough is enough. No."

State Representative Tom Golden... "People are already taxed for the gas tax. Period. That's it.... There is really nothing else." 


Mike Barrett December 17, 2013 at 04:34 PM
The bill I've cosponsored doesn't create a VMT tax. Recognizing that the federal government is paralyzed and is not funding all the pilot programs it might otherwise undertake, the state bill would authorize a state-funded pilot instead. Presumably some drivers in Chelmsford would pay less under an alternative road tax, while others would pay more. If we conduct a pilot, we will know more about who's affected and why. Then we can continue spirited discussions like these. That said, this cosponsorship decision of mine was made back in December of 2012. Since then, revelations about US government surveillance have undermined confidence in our ability to limit uses of our data. Until we get the balance right between good applications of information and bad ones, there will be a chilling effect on many potentially helpful studies, this one included.
Rob C December 17, 2013 at 05:34 PM
I thank you for your response Mike. However, as a taxpayer I would argue that spending money on a program to find another way to take more money away from us is beyond ridiculous. If you want to see how it will work out and if it will be productive, wait until Oregon has completed its study and just read it. The best way to fund the roads would be to do what Florida has done with the open road tolling down there. Install tolls at every border crossing (charge more there) and every onramp to a hiway. I would accept this solution ONLY if the funds collected went to ONLY fixing and building roads. I also noticed that you completely ignored the idea of reforms and law changes as to how the state conducts it financial business. I ask you here, if you would go on record for or against the ideas I mentioned above that would save the state and its taxpayers a lot of money.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 17, 2013 at 07:56 PM
The article is about " replacing the gas tax..." with a VMT tax. This is Massachusetts and not Oregon, and the VMT proposal is worth a look. The inquirer has suggested unsightly and bureacratic onramp tolls in the past here. An on road toll at every entrance to a highway in a congested , metropolitan area is absurd, besides being unsightly, more administrative. Airmarks never work; they just get out of hand.My approach -finance roads through long range general revenue, clean and easy. I believe this is the approach Gov Patrick(D) used in the recent Budget rather than a myriad of different tax types to fit innumerable situations. That approach becomes endless and a slippery slope. Senator Barrett was right in diplomatically ignoring the baited question(s) about other pet peeves . That is another thread. Nice try, though. I have a number of pet peeves of my own but will avoid the temptation. I hope we don't now have a never ending off topic discussion here again about a topic that is not being discussed here. Deja vu all over again. Mike, keep up the good work. Conscientious, perceptive and educated . That is why I voted for you.
Rob C December 17, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Tyler, Once again you interject your partisan point of view on a subject you appear to know nothing about. Open road tolling that has been brought up before, by Deval Patrick by the way, will in no way impede traffic entering or exiting the hiway (as I told you before look at Florida). You simply drive under a street sign at whatever speed you feel like going, no toll booths with people collecting change no extra employees as it is all done by computers and could be staffed by the same people we already have on the payroll, maybe even less people. The study proposed by Oregon will determine the feasibility of using the technology as an alternative to the gas tax. One would assume that if the technology works in one state, it would work in another. There would be no need to repeat a study already being done unless your sole goal is to waste money. If you wanted to get an idea of how many miles a year a MA resident drives compared to gas sold, simply checking DMV records of the yearly inspections will give you that info as they take down mileage every year when you get a sticker. This will give a ballpark as to the net gain/loss on revenue. As to my asking the Senator to answer my questions about cost cutting: This alternative method of revenue source that he is interested in pursuing is brought about by the lack of funds being brought into the state treasury by way of the gas tax, primarily due to the more fuel efficient vehicles that are on the road today and less gas being sold. As the Senator pointed out, this lack of funds is needed to pay for broken roads and bridges and he is looking for a way to make up the lost funds. My suggestion of doing away with the prevailing wage law will allow us to build roads and bridges much cheaper than we currently do in this state. Just check the DOT website and get per mile rates for building roads, NH is about half of MA per mile. Getting rid of police details will save us money and at the same time put more people to work. Instead of paying a police officer to sit in his car or stand at the side of the road we could have an entry level construction worker directing traffic at $15 an hour instead of the $80 an hour the police officer gets on overtime. In the process we save $65 an hour per officer at the construction site and put people to work in the private sector. Win win all around. Now as one of the Senators constituents, he should answer the simple question of should we look at saving money in the state before we look at taking more away from the people.
Anna Bucciarelli December 18, 2013 at 08:18 AM
I'm with you Rob. It seems to me that too many "studies" are forever conducted, especially when studies are/have been already done. The amount of $ spent on these studies is a ridiculous waste of time and $ and is no more than giving salaries to the studiers doing duplicate work. It's plain nonsense.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 18, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Hey Robbie: my preference as I have iterated in the past is to continue to fund roads and bridges from general revenue, not set up more fees and administration so don't be your usual ignorant self ,talk down to me and claim I "know nothing about the topic". You have a caustic, derogatory demeanor about yourself when you are challenged by a different point of view( your reaction here exemplifies that) .I didn't lash out at you here, so don't be so pompous and self-righteous. Knowing you from past posts , it's your nature, especially when it comes to me .I don't like you either, enemy. So stuff it, jerko. I don't buy your argument of using the same employees and administrative apparatus- never happens. Police details have no correlation to VMT fees. The off -topic other issues ( yes, I consider them off topic) are not germane to this topic. Ask Barrett off line; you're a constituent of his but I'm sure you didn't vote for him , you went with Martinez, who would be an absolute zero as a legislator, but fits your libertarian streak even though she is tea party. Don't complicate this topic with superfilous side issues. Ms Anna:
Rob C December 18, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Tyler, You stated that having toll booths in a congested area was not a good idea, I was just re-informing you that open road tolling has no toll booths and will not add to any traffic issues that we currently have. As to you saying that I went off topic, I would say you are completely wrong there. As the Senator pointed in his own reply, the need for the “study” on VMT taxing is due to the lack of funds due to decreased gas sales and the need to pay for bridges and roads. Since he is looking for ways to get in more money I was offering other suggestions that he could explore to bring in more revenue without the privacy concerns he mentioned and at the same time implement cost cutting and getting more return on our tax dollars. Anna’s comment was not a side issue, it was direct on point with what this article is about and that is repeating a study that is already being done and wasting more of our tax money. The Senator brought himself into this forum with a reply to my post, if he wants to reply again I will be most interested in what he has to say on the idea of cost cutting and other revenue sources to pay for bridges and roads. I am pretty sure that he neither needs nor wants you speaking for him. Since the Senator decided to reply to my post in a public forum it is only fair to any other interested constituents to proceed in the same public forum so that they are aware of where he stands on the topic.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 18, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Rob,I'm not speaking for Senator Barrett, so please do not put words in my mouth. I consider the other expenditure issues you raise as off -topic expenditure reductions; my opinion and observation ,so let it go. In your ( pompous)words, "you ( meaning me) are completely wrong there". There is no right or wrong here. My suggestion to Sen Barrett(D) whom I voted for, is that he not venture down a black hole in expenditure cuts even though you want to steer the discussion in that direction; that's all. Looks like he took my advice and did not take the bate. If you want a congenial discussion of any topic here, suspend the "you know nothing and are wrong" stuff here. It's toxic and unnecessary. See me doing that to you? I didn't say that Anna's comments about "reports" were off topic,did I? So again , don't put more words in my mouth. We differ. I would stick with general revenue funding without more fees, complications or earmarking.my approach. i didn't state that you were "wrong" or "know nothing..." because you do not agree. have a nice night.
Anna Bucciarelli December 19, 2013 at 07:25 AM
What superfluous side issues? "I'm truly in favor of exploration and experimentation ...", spoken by Barrett. Smacks of study to study a study to me and I think most "studies" are nothing more than waste, especially when there is already one in place that we can glean information from. Please don't talk down to me Tyler, it is highly distasteful and far and away from subject matter, and, yes, superfluous dialogue from you.
Prometheus December 19, 2013 at 08:30 AM
" a black hole in expenditure cuts"....are you talking about Detroit?
Tyler Jozefowicz December 19, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Ms Anna: why don't you read my comment again before you get so huffy. I'll quote:"I didn't say that Anna's comments about 'reports"were off topic, did I?" In fact I don't favor either a report or the VMT tax; As I said twice above . I favor infrastructure improvements to continue to come from general revenue. The superfluous issues I am referring to are those raised by Rob C above , not you: 'cut out all waste and fraud", 'repeal prevailing wage law", 'police details", and ' money to illegal aliens". So dispense with the 'talking down , and " distasteful " lingo. A little reading comprehension is in order here.
Rob C December 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Tyler, The prevailing wage law and the police details are directly on point with the premise of the VMT tax as they are two factors that directly impact the high cost of construction in this state. If we got rid of those two things we would be more on track with our neighbor to the north who can build roads at about half of what we do it for in this state. If the construction costs were cut we wouldn’t necessarily need to implement new taxes to get the work done. We may need to raise taxes to fix ALL bridges and roads in the state, but before we explore raising revenue , we should at least bring the cost per mile down to what NH pays and see where that lands us. Since money for the roads comes out of the general fund, then bringing up money that we spend on illegal aliens is also directly on point as that money could be used to fix our crumbling roads. Look at the big picture Tyler. This state has so much wasted spending that if it were a business it would be under investigation for fraud. Sorry, parts of the state are under investigation by the feds for fraud. And your exact words that got to Anna were “Don't complicate this topic with superfilous side issues. Ms Anna” I fail to see how discussing wasted money and how to stop wasting money on a topic that is about us not having enough money as a superfluous side issue.
ron johnson December 19, 2013 at 10:48 AM
This is Massachusetts and not Oregon, and the VMT proposal is worth a look” However in your response to Rob C you state, “my preference as I have iterated in the past is to continue to fund roads and bridges from general revenue, not set up more fees and administration so don't be your usual ignorant self” In response to his comment “Tyler, Once again you interject your partisan point of view on a subject you appear (key word) to know nothing about” you state, “You have a caustic, derogatory demeanor about yourself when you are challenged by a different point of view (your reaction here exemplifies that) .I didn't lash out at you here, so don't be so pompous and self-righteous. Knowing you from past posts, it's your nature, especially when it comes to me .I don't like you either, enemy. So stuff it, jerko” Tyler, I am not sure that anything he said is untrue, you tell us how you vote for and remind us at regular intervals that you are a progressive democrat. In response to Anna you state, “Don't complicate this topic with superfilous (sp) side issues. Ms Anna:” However later on, you claim you said no such thing. “Rob, I’m not speaking for Senator Barrett, so please do not put words in my mouth. I consider the other expenditure issues you raise as off -topic expenditure reductions; my opinion and observation, so let it go. In your (pompous) words, "you (meaning me) are completely wrong there". “Ms Anna: why don't you read my comment again before you get so huffy. I'll quote:"I didn't say that Anna's comments about 'reports"were off topic, did I?" In fact I don't favor either a report or the VMT tax; As I said twice above” When in fact your first post they were worth a look. Andrew, I am calling you out on this one, I can’t understand why Tyler gets to call people names and you remove my posts when I ask questions. Using such terms as “stuff it jerko”. Putting “Ms. in front of Anna’s name seems to be to be attacks on a person as opposed to talking about the comment. I was also wondering why we were missing Tyler for a while as well.
Rob C December 19, 2013 at 11:03 AM
I can handle Tyler calling me names, that is usually the sign of somebody that has run out of facts and needs to resort to childish name calling to try and make a point. I don't see that as a reason to delete any post. Only thing I think is worthy of a post being deleted are swear words, as I have said before, since this is supposed to be a family friendly site. Andrew, I have NEVER read a post of Ron's worthy of being deleted. I think we were missing Tyler for a while because he was away at school. His absence was rather pleasant but the discussions were rather dull without him.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) December 19, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Hi Rob, I think you're right on Ron's comments. I really don't like removing comments in any case, and it's definitely tougher with these super long comments. Also glad that Tyler's back though, he can help spur things on so I don't have to. I'm guessing if Iron Mike left us, I'd have to play devil's advocate on a lot of what Tyler says!
ron johnson December 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Andrew, I am just trying to understand the limits. I also have no issue with Tyler, in that as Rob stated, he calls people names as a defense against the positions they take that are contrary to his. I was merely using his own words to show that he is as guilty of name-calling and disrespect as those he attacks for the same type of comment. As far as the topic, I would invite Mr. Barrett to respond to the comment about waste. If there is a need for more revenue for one project, I would like to think that the first determine if there are not savings to be had somewhere else.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 19, 2013 at 03:02 PM
ron johnson: I'm back from school. I do not normally like to get into off-track conversations but 2 POINTS need to be made for clarification since you raised my name wherein I never addressed you in any of these treads: 1.the superfluous issue remark were directed only at Rob C. , and I referenced what I considered superfluous. That is my opinion ; I consider them superfluous; others may differ fine; nothing to get alarmed at . More importantly, notice at the end of my comment to Rob C., I used " Ms Anna:"[colon emphasized]. What I did was start another paragraph addressed to Anna, but the post comment was sent without my adding anything to her, not ending a statement addressed to her ; it was addressed exclusively to Rob C; the separate unfinished para to Anna was moved up to the last line when sent. I wouldn't start a para addressed to Rob C., and end it with an addressee name " Anna:"colon. 2.what you missed in you "notable Tyler quotes "were they were precipitated by Rob C., derogatory language , talking down to me . Namely, "subject ...you know nothing about" and " you are completely wrong". Stick to the subject. It is not necessary to interject personal insults toward me.
ron johnson December 19, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Tyler, You post means we can address you. I think you may be a little thin skinned. My point is for one so quick to find offense, you seem to dish it out as well. I can take it and have no problem with you or your comments, as long as you take the time to defend your position and acknowledge that others have good point now and again. I thought that when Mike Barrett chose to respond, he opened up the dialog. I think Rob's questions deserved a response in the same forum that Mr. Barrett chose. You have every right to disagree. I have noticed that Mr. Barrett has gone silent though.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) December 19, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Ron, unfortunately, it's fairly subjective. I've heard from users recently that they want more lax moderation here, I'm fine with that as long as it doesn't scare away commenters. I'd still probably delete things that are nothing but an insult. And if I miss one, please let me know. I've got a lot on my plate, I can't catch them all.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 19, 2013 at 04:55 PM
ron: isn't it interesting that Rob C's personal attacks on me in his initial response , and my pointing them out in a second response to him , and then pointing them out to you in a 3rd comment to you, all got lost in your thought process. What I found particularly interesting is you pointing my frailties out to Andrew , asking innocently where the line is drawn , but giving Rob C., a free pass. Very astute in picking out my quotes , but not his, even when they are called to your attention. My impression , Sen Barrett addressed the VMT tax, and is too professional to engage in the other games you guys play. Just my impression , not speaking for him because I can't. None of you voted for him anyway. I did. Not that it matters. Andrew: if you didn't have me , save an errant comment from Aaron Levy from time to time , you would be ensconced in a conservative mutual admiration society of elders here that inhabit the Republican Island of Chelmsford. ron: i pointed out the scenario: I comment without being vicious , then some conservative jamoke (sp) starts with the personal insults . That's how it goes down . Pay attention next time. Notice how you always go after me , and no others ,with at times more egregious diatribe. Ever notice that? Could it be my liberal leanings? Ya, that plays a role. Do you expect me to let the initial insults directed at me just pass? If you follow this thread sequentially, you'll see how it goes down.
Anna Bucciarelli December 19, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Oh, Tyler ... forgive my poor reading comprehension, I can only read the way you write and comprehend only what you write and cannot, tho I try, get all the innuendo and sub-content in everything you say. I thought you were addressing me with the superfluous comment, thus my response to you. However, there is no need for you to scold at me as you often do, it is not my intent to demean you, but I reserve the right to question your discourse if I think it pertains to me personally. In another post I welcomed you back to civil dialogue and said I'd noticed your absence from these posts and missed them since I really think you have a lot of fire in your belly that burns to get out and gets things going in these comments. I hope you understood that to mean I appreciate honest back and forth but I am not a fan of blatant nasty or derogatory remarks or name calling.
Rob C December 19, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Tyler, Stating that you are wrong and that you know nothing about a certain topic when what you said was in fact wrong and proving that you knew nothing about it, is not a personal attack or an insult, it is a factual statement. Meanwhile, statements from you calling people that disagree with the left as “teabaggers”. Telling Anna not to be “huffy”, “stuff it jerko” directed to me and threatening to go to somebodies house to fight them over a difference of opinion (to name a few just from the last two days) are two completely different things. If you are offended by being told you are wrong then I fear for you and how you will handle life after you get out of school and get a job in the real world. If you screw up in the real world, your boss will tell you and sometimes in words that cannot be repeated here how bad you have screwed up. The idea pushed forward by schools and society these days that there are no winners or losers is more damaging to this young generation than the momentary feel good “good work” that they are told when the screw up.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 19, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Neither am I unless provoked by others. You must agree I had and continue to have a lot of provocation. Wonder why? If you are not a fan of "blatant nasty or derogatory remarks or naming calling", maybe you might want to call it out in others as well. I have a few in mind here that get a free pass all the time.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 19, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Rob C; you're back again addressing me. Stating that I "know nothing about the subject" and stating " you are completely wrong" are factual statements? Really, Rob. I don't think so. Maybe in your narrow world, not mine. It turned out that a statement directed at Anna , was not in fact directed to Anna. She acknowledged that in a recent comment here; I explained it. Why won't you? The comment in going to someone's house was in response that individual suggesting that we meet somewhere. His tough guy statement , not mine. I acquaint teabagger in the same fashion as a carpetbagger. I don't know where your dirty mind leads you. Looks like you have a selective memory and use of all the facts here, tend to ignore some aspects , Rob. Save the lecture to me about life in the real world. You are not talking to someone's kid here. Perhaps I should point out to you the dangers of distorting facts and making them appear to be what they are not, like you just did here..
Anna Bucciarelli December 19, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Tyler, sometimes we bring it on ourselves, the disdain of others. The simple fact is that intelligence and knowledge, like virtue, is its own reward and we never need to seek approval from others or hope for their agreement. You are very adept when it comes to expressing some of your angst, you should certainly be accepting if others choose to do similar with you in mind. However, I think many times it is all subject to interpretation, how we perceive what is being said. Think on that for a moment.
ron johnson December 20, 2013 at 08:34 AM
Tyler, Since you raised it, "I have gone after others" and yes I tend to be more conservative. I however did not support Martinez and thus the danger of assumptions. As far as being an elder, yes, I am not in college or grad school, but again, age is not the sole factor in my politics. I have, and I assume that you now are forgetting, have chimed in on your side now and again, and I am sure Andrew may on occasion think I am picking at him as well. I think some people go to far and yes I do as well once in a while. As far as Rob C, I think he for the most part backs up his statements with facts.
Tyler Jozefowicz December 20, 2013 at 11:44 AM
You tend , by and large to be an equal opportunity picker, although you leave some obvious and blatant candidates out, devote an inordinate amount of critical attention to me. Since you raised the fact that you "tend to be more conservative", i'd like to know whether that extends to a disfavor with meals on wheels, social security, medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, minimum wage, immigration reform, free school lunches, unemployment compensation child care credits- most conservatives I know , who are not RINOs consider them govt intrusion , big govt and socialism. If that's you , fine. Just a general feel ,please don't open up a new thread or write a dissertation here. i'm not asking other to get carried away and join in.
ron johnson December 20, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Answers, yes, yes, yes, yes with limits, No, it is an overbroad fix, yes to raise minimum wage, I am not sure how to answer immigration reform, in that that can mean many things, yes, as far as unemployment, I assume you mean extension of benefits and I am in favor of the program in NH which ties benefits to helping people start new businesses and yes. I am against multi-generational welfare, I am for the idea that people should be strongly encouraged to speak English, my grandparents did. I vote for republicans and democrats on occasion and I know you know I can't stand EW, as she is the biggest fraud going. Short enough?
Tyler Jozefowicz December 20, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Interesting . You don't sound that conservative then, more like a moderate, judging from your 'yes' answers. MA ties unemployment comp to mandatory work logs, offers training , universal job openings, need to contact 3 job prospects each week and record, subject to immediate inspection/ verification when asked, required attendance at seminars , resume writing. Now if the private sector can get their act together and quit outsourcing jobs overseas. Most immigrants I know speak both English and their native language. I consider Scott Brown to be an incompetent and fraud. Thanks. Don't want to take up the print here on off subject remarks. You know how my detractors are , quick to jump.
ron johnson December 20, 2013 at 02:16 PM
I voted for Clinton twice and while Brown was not the best candidate and in my mind ran a poor campaign, EW is a bigger phony. I have said this is the past and been accused of being inconsistent. I have some issues with the blanket statement about outsourcing in that we want the goods we buy to be less expensive. At some point China will raise salaries and companies will find another place. Maybe most immigrants speak both their native language and English, but if that is the case why do some many never learn. I am not in favor of spending limited resources on second language classes in schools beyond a certain grade or number of years. The issue we have is that you sometimes cannot see the other side at all and that is what set me off.

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