Massachusetts fuel tax increase kicks in July 31

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/30/2013

The next time truckers and others stop for fuel in Massachusetts they could notice a boost in the price at the pump. Starting Wednesday, July 31, the state’s fuel tax rate increases 3 cents.

The 21-cent-per-gallon fuel tax rate is being increased to 24 cents because state lawmakers voted last week to override Gov. Deval Patrick’s veto of a 10-year transportation funding package that included the fuel tax increase. The funding plan is expected to raise $800 million in taxes annually by 2018.

Patrick vetoed the bill after lawmakers ignored his demand to include an additional 3-cent fuel hike. The governor wanted to add a provision allowing for the increase if tolls on the western portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike come down as scheduled in 2017.

State lawmakers also decided to tie the fuel tax rate to inflation, which allows for regular increases. In addition, a 2.5-cent portion of the tax applied to underground storage tank cleanups is being rerouted to transportation.

Smokers will also pay more starting Wednesday for a pack of cigarettes. The $2.51 excise tax is being raised by $1 to $3.51 per pack.

A 6.5 percent sales tax is also being added to computer software services.

The new money from cigarette sales and software services will be applied to roads and bridges.

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