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Activists with “Tank the Automatic Gas Tax” Look for 100,000 Signatures

Courtesy MGN

Courtesy MGN

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WGGB) — Governor Patrick’s transportation bill took effect earlier this year and this summer, we brought you the story of some local activists who were unhappy with one particular provision–the gas tax.

Today we caught up with one of them, Richard Howell, to check-in and he told us they are close to making a change.

Tank the Automatic Gas Tax” was formed on July 30th, the day after the state legislature approved Governor Patrick’s transportation bill.  Since then, they’ve gathered tens of thousands of signatures so voters can have their say in the matter on the 2014 ballot.

“We have to net a little less than 70,000 signatures. Our goal was to get 100,000 so we can turn them into the town and city clerks to be certified. Once they’re certified, then we have roughly another 4 or 5 weeks to get it down to the secretary of state’s office, where they go through them again,” explains Howell.

In order to have the issue on the 2014 ballot, signatures must be turned in by the end of the month.  So far the group has collected 75,000 signatures, but their looking for more.

As you may remember, the gas tax is linked to inflation. As the cost of living goes up, so does the gas tax, without ever having to vote on it again.

“That’s why we’re trying to get the sign here to repeal it. We’re convinced that if it’s on the ballot, it’s going to pass,” says Howell.

In fact, he says it wasn’t difficult to get this many people on board and is confident they’ll hit their goal of 100,000 ahead of the deadline.

“It’s easy for 2 reasons 1. It’s not limited to a partisan group of people. Anybody who is a registered voter can sign. And almost everybody we approach wants to sign it. Nobody wants to see their taxes increase, especially now,” Howell notes.

If approved, the question would show up on the ballot in January where Massachusetts voters will face yet another set of elections.

If you’re interested in adding your name to the list of signatures…Tank the Automatic Gas Tax will be collecting signatures at the Big Y parking lot in Westfield tomorrow, Saturday November 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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