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Yes on Question 6

By Rima Arnaout, Michael J. Ring, and Naveen Sunkavally

We endorse Question 6, the initiative to grant tax credits for tolls and auto excise taxes. We believe the repeal of tolls will remedy two inequities in the state’s current tax system. Tolls are regressive -- the millionaire and the working stiff pay the same fees. Also, tolls in the Bay State are geographically discriminatory; commuters from the west and northeast of Boston pay tolls, but drivers from the northwest and south do not. It is especially unfair to use the tolls of east-west commuters to finance the Big Dig, which primarily benefits north-south commuters.

The toll rebate mechanism in Question 6 is far from perfect, but it is the only one allowed under law. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court disallowed a petition on the 1998 ballot calling for an end to toll collection.

We share concerns that passage of Question 6 might encourage increased driving, but ultimately we believe the need for an equitable system of taxation is more important than discouraging automobile use. For these reasons we recommend a vote of yes on 6.

We join with The Tech to urge a vote of no on Question 5, and yes on Questions 7 and 8.