Say “Thank You” Massachusetts

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Say "Thank You" Massachusetts

One year ago dri­vers in the United States in gen­eral got an unex­pected gift from the laws of sup­ply and demand. The US frack­ing boom which has caused the US to become the #1 energy pro­ducer in the world forced a reac­tion by the Saudi’s that dropped the price of fuel in the US in gen­eral putting money in everyone’s pocket that they didn’t expect, not just for dri­vers but for every­body who buys a prod­uct deliv­ered by a truck.

As I noted in a piece ear­lier this year on Watch­dog rather than cel­e­brate this drop the Obama admin­is­tra­tion and oth­ers have tried to reverse this trend

These new rules, along with taxes pro­posed in var­i­ous states, have the poten­tial to do what the Saudis have to this point been unable to do: cur­tail the energy boom that has been the engine of the recov­ery thus far. As Investors Busi­ness Daily wrote “This war-​on-​shale action mir­rors the administration’s war on coal, with EPA rules impos­si­ble to meet eco­nom­i­cally and some­times requir­ing tech­nol­ogy that doesn’t even exist.”

And to be sure Gas prices have slowly started to increase again. The sta­tion where I fill up dropped to $1.99 a gal at their low and was charg­ing $2.53 as of my last fill-​up.

ma-gas-price-chart 10 year
With a national elec­tion on the hori­zon and ter­ror threats in the news many in the state might have for­got­ten the fight that pre­vented annual auto­matic gas tax hikes for going into effect.This price increase hasn’t caused an angry reac­tion most likely because those now pay­ing an aver­age of $2.71 were pay­ing nearly a dol­lar gal­lon more a year ago. ma-gas-price-table But if you’re a Mass­a­chu­setts con­sumer grate­ful about that .90 a gal­lon you’re not pay­ing this year, make sure you remem­ber a debt of grat­i­tude you owe to a few other people.

In 2013 The Mass leg­is­la­ture passed a .03 increase in the State Gas tax and included with the flat increase index­ing the tax to infla­tion mean­ing we would get a tax increase every sin­gle year with­out a vote by the leg­is­la­ture. As I put it at the time:

We get one chance to stop the index­ing of gas tax increases for­ever, just one because if this bud­get is passed with the indexed tax it will not only never be repealed but it will be used as a polit­i­cal tool for years to come

I could see a bunch of 8179 votes for repeal with every pol in elec­toral trou­ble vot­ing with that 79 &beat­ing their breast over the fail­ure to repeal the tax.

Luck­ily for the state some peo­ple didn’t take it sit­ting down Mass GOP chair Kris­ten Hughes stood out with Tea Party mem­bers in 2013 pub­li­ciz­ing that gas tax index­ing.

and for­mer GOP Con­gres­sional Can­di­date Marty Lamb who derided the attempt to increase gas taxes “to infin­ity and beyond”.

They had an uphill fight. They were opposed by the Boston Globe and the Gov­er­nor Patrick who were very well-​funded. In fact the No on one com­mit­tee raised 2.9 Mil­lion dol­lars and spent 2.6 Mil­lion to save the indexed gas tax while The Com­mit­tee to Tank the Auto­matic Gas Tax man­aged to raise only $98K spend­ing 3.7% of their oppo­nents.

Instead of big names they relied on a group of hard work­ing grass roots activists and it paid off. Despite being out­spent nearly 301, the oppo­si­tion of the largest paper in the state and then Gov­er­nor Deval Patrick the group man­aged an improb­a­ble 5347 vic­tory lead­ing to Holly Robichaud and Tank the Gas Tax being awarded the “Bal­lot Mea­sure Cam­paign of the Year” by the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of Polit­i­cal Consultants

But the real win­ners are the Mass­a­chu­setts dri­vers and con­sumers who are not deal­ing with an extra tax increase on Gaso­line every sin­gle year. Each one of them owes Ms. Robichaud, Mr. Lamb, Ms. Hughes and all those activists who gave freely of their time to keep the gov­ern­ment out of their pock­ets a debt of gratitude

After the repeal passed I gave a warning:

The folks at the state­house will learn from that result and be smarter next time. They’ll make small grad­ual changes, and reach into your wal­let more sub­tlety, not steal­ing over their weight or attract­ing attention.

Let’s hope that if they do there are peo­ple ready to take up the fight once more. Big Gov­ern­ment is never stopped by acci­dent, it comes from hard work.

One year ago drivers in the United States in general got an unexpected gift from the laws of supply and demand.  The US fracking boom which has caused the US to become the #1 energy producer in the world forced a reaction by the Saudi’s that dropped the price of fuel in the US in general putting money in everyone’s pocket that they didn’t expect, not just for drivers but for everybody who buys a product delivered by a truck.

As I noted in a piece earlier this year on Watchdog rather than celebrate this drop the Obama administration and others have tried to reverse this trend

These new rules, along with taxes proposed in various states, have the potential to do what the Saudis have to this point been unable to do: curtail the energy boom that has been the engine of the recovery thus far.  As Investors Business Daily  wrote “This war-on-shale action mirrors the administration’s war on coal, with EPA rules impossible to meet economically and sometimes requiring technology that doesn’t even exist.”

And to be sure Gas prices have slowly started to increase again.  The station where I fill up dropped to $1.99 a gal at their low and was charging $2.53 as of my last fill-up.

ma-gas-price-chart 10 year
With a national election on the horizon and terror threats in the news many in the state might have forgotten the fight that prevented annual automatic gas tax hikes for going into effect.This price increase hasn’t caused an angry reaction most likely because those now paying an average of $2.71 were paying nearly a dollar gallon more a year ago. ma-gas-price-table But if you’re a Massachusetts consumer grateful about that .90 a gallon you’re not paying this year, make sure you remember a debt of gratitude you owe to a few other people.

In 2013 The Mass legislature passed a .03 increase in the State Gas tax and included with the flat increase indexing the tax to inflation meaning we would get a tax increase every single year without a vote by the legislature.  As I put it at the time:

We get one chance to stop the indexing of gas tax increases forever, just one because if this budget is passed with the indexed tax it will not only never be repealed but it will be used as a political tool for years to come

I could see a bunch of 81-79 votes for repeal with every pol in electoral trouble voting with that 79 &beating their breast over the failure to repeal the tax.

Luckily for the state some people didn’t take it sitting down Mass GOP chair Kristen Hughes stood out with Tea Party members in 2013 publicizing that gas tax indexing.

and former GOP Congressional Candidate Marty Lamb who derided the attempt to increase gas taxes “to infinity and beyond”.

They had an uphill fight.   They were opposed by the Boston Globe and the Governor Patrick who were very well-funded.  In fact the No on one committee raised 2.9 Million dollars and spent 2.6 Million to save the indexed gas tax while The Committee to Tank the Automatic Gas Tax managed to raise only $98K spending 3.7% of their opponents.

Instead of big names they relied on a group of hard working grass roots activists and it paid off.  Despite being outspent nearly 30-1, the opposition of the largest paper in the state and then Governor Deval Patrick the group managed an improbable 53-47 victory leading to Holly Robichaud and Tank the Gas Tax being awarded the “Ballot Measure Campaign of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants

But the real winners are the Massachusetts drivers and consumers who are not dealing with an extra tax increase on Gasoline every single year.  Each one of them owes Ms. Robichaud, Mr. Lamb, Ms. Hughes and all those activists who gave freely of their time to keep the government out of their pockets a debt of gratitude

After the repeal passed I gave a warning:

The folks at the statehouse will learn from that result and be smarter next time. They’ll make small gradual changes, and reach into your wallet more subtlety, not stealing over their weight or attracting attention.

Let’s hope that if they do there are people ready to take up the fight once more.  Big Government is never stopped by accident, it comes from hard work.