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More Budget Mischief: Senate Wants to Hit T Riders

Since the Massachusetts Legislature wants to leave tax breaks for corporations and their wealthy friends intact, they are looking for ways to wring revenues out of ordinary people. One idea that has recently surfaced is to hit people who ride public transportation with increased MBTA fares.

But there is an obstacle to this. Current law prevents the T from raising fares while ridership is declining. And ridership has been declining recently. Raising fares will drive ridership down even more. And since every person who rides the T is one less person driving a car, that’s bad news for the quality of our air. And bad news for traffic congestion. And as a revenue measure, it’s just not fair.

An amendment to the House budget proposed by Rep. Paul Kujawski (D-Webster) would substantially weaken current legislation by allowing a fare increase despite a decline in ridership if there is “a casual connection between the decrease in ridership and a natural disaster, an act of war, a terrorist act, or a fiscal crisis.” That’s a big loophole that can be stretched to cover many unfair hikes in fares.


ACTION:

Ask your state senator to oppose a T fare increase and remove the House budget amendment 903 from the state budget.

Call Rep. Kujawski and tell him that he shouldn’t vote against fair revenue measures that fall upon those who can afford to pay and then turn around and try to hit low and moderate income people who are doing the right thing by using public transportation. (On April 30, 2003 Rep. Kujawski voted against raising revenues through raising the income tax rate).


We thank MASSPIRG for providing information for this alert.

  

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