SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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April 3, 2013

Mass. lawmakers: Raise state gas, cigarette taxes

(Continued)

“Nobody wants to go over a bridge that is going to fall down,” Murray said.

While noting that the tax increases proposed yesterday were less than those sought by the governor, Republicans were skeptical that Democrats had exhausted all cost-saving options before resorting to new taxes.

“In fact, we believe numerous other areas of savings still exist,” said Rep. Brad Jones, the House minority leader.

Republicans, heavily outnumbered in both branches, also called for a public hearing to be held before the transportation plan was put to a vote, but a spokesman for the Senate president said no hearing was planned.

In a report delivered to Patrick earlier this year, state transportation officials detailed a chronically underfunded system that was deeply in debt from the massive Big Dig highway project in Boston and other past commitments, and called for at least $1 billion a year in new state spending.

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