Republicans protest gas tax

Ted Dooley joined Republican lawmakers and others in protesting the state’s new gas tax at a gas station in Dorchester. The new tax went into effect at midnight Wednesday.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Ted Dooley joined Republican lawmakers and others in protesting the state’s new gas tax at a gas station in Dorchester. The new tax went into effect at midnight Wednesday.

On the morning that a trio of new taxes went into effect, Massachusetts Republicans descended on a Dorchester gas station Wednesday to protest the hikes that will raise the price of gas in this state.

The tax increases — on gasoline, tobacco products, and certain computer software services — are part of the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s recently passed initiative to help fund transportation infrastructure.


“I want to wish everyone a happy Taxachusetts Day,” said Kirsten Hughes, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party.

“We’re out here,” she said, “to remind voters that Democrats are the reason their gas prices are higher today.”

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After the stroke of midnight Wednesday morning, taxes went up 3 cents per gallon on gasoline and a dollar a pack on cigarettes. The state’s 6.25 percent sales tax will also now be applied to certain computer software services.

The revenue generated by the additional taxes will help pay for the MBTA, personnel at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, regional transit authorities, and some construction projects.

GOP legislators at the event said there were better ways to finance the state’s transportation needs.


“The Senate Republicans put a plan on the table that generated over $2 billion without having to do this to motorists in the Commonwealth,” said Senate minority leader Bruce E. Tarr, a Gloucester Republican.

Standing behind Hughes were Republican lawmakers and supporters wielding signs with hand-written messages: “Axe the gas tax” and “Put the brakes on gas tax.”

“I think it was wrong for the . . . Legislature to pass another burden on to the taxpayers,” said Representative Vinny deMacedo, a Plymouth Republican who owns a Mobil gas station. “We shouldn’t have gone back after the taxpayers whether the gasoline tax, the cigarette tax, or the innovation tax.”

Adam Winter — president of SwiftecIT, an IT computer service company in Shrewsbury — also spoke at the event. Beginning Wednesday, he said, he will have to start charging sales tax when he installs software on his customers’ computers. He said that the application of the sales tax would have a particularly pernicious impact on small businesses like his.

“Large companies have their internal staff and don’t need to hire outside consultants, so they’re not going to have to pay this service tax,’’ he said. “Only the small businesses will.”

Joshua Miller can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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