The contest? Uneven, in a sense. My side was outspent more than 17 to one.
But, in another sense, the odds were closer, maybe even on my side.
Well, our side.
In 2013, the legislature had passed a bill to turn a fuel tax of 24 cents per gallon into a more permanent rate structure, increasing the tax every year as the Consumer Price Index rose.
Citizens of “Taxachusetts” objected to the idea of automating tax hikes. Perhaps thinking about their wallets, they were hardly amused by their state government piling further taxes on whenever prices, including fuel prices, rose. It’s one thing to have to pay more when supplies get tight or demand bids up prices, making gasoline and diesel more expensive. But why pay extra to the government?
Automatically. Without a legislative vote on the record.
So citizens petitioned to have the law referred to a general vote. The measure became Question 1 on last week’s ballot.
It won with a 53 percent majority. The automatic tax hike was nixed.
So, who outspent us? Who wanted the permanent, automatic tax hike? The extra tax revenues, I wrote before the election, “are slated to go toward road construction and maintenance in the Bay State. And — surprise, surprise — the biggest opponents of Question 1 are construction companies doing business with the state.”
But, despite special interests dumping tons of money, citizens won.
The money spent by Liberty Initiative Fund was leveraged effectively. Because, on issues like this, siding with the people is no long shot.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.