PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2013) — Yeah, we know. March: In like a lion, out like a lamb, except in our case today, “In with the lying, out with the Trash.” Our name is PLANET. We cover politics.

THE PLANET thanks Joe Blow for bringing Andy McKeever‘s article in Tuesday edition of iBerkshires to our attention. Here’s the link for the article, which covers 3rd Berkshire District representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier’s co-sponsorship of a bill that would institute a new tax on motorists.

Prompted by McKeever’s story, we sent our Right Honorable Good Friend from the 3rd Berkshire District a set of questions. As we like to be as up front as possible on stories like this, we will share the e-mail we sent to the 3rd Berkshire Representative, so you can better judge her response. We sent this on Feb. 27, in the evening.

—– 00 —–

We just heard about the bill you are sponsoring, the so-called “pay as you drive” measure.
We would like a response to the following questions:

* Are you serious? Do you honestly think that introducing a new tax based on usage is goingto be more equitable for your constituents, many of whom are barely keeping afloat, financially?
* What is the guarantee that, if adopted, this new tax will not replace but be added to the gasoline tax.
* How on earth will this fee be collected?
* What about the “Big Brother”aspect of this. Do you understand the implications of this technology upon the constitutional right to privacy? Are you serious when you liken this to cell phone usage and information?
* What this bill your idea or are you acting on someone’s behalf?
* Do you expect the pilot program to be approved? If so, when? How will you select the initial participants.
* You know, do you not, that the federal guv. accountability office says there’s not way you could introduce this fad idea in America and have it be profitable.

Feel free to add anything else.
I want you to have a full and free chance for comment in my article on this, which should run on THE PLANET Friday.
I will need to hear from you no later than 9 p.m. tomorrow night to make my deadline.


—– 00 —–

On Feb. 28, TFB sent this reply, beating our deadline by five hours, for which we were and are most appreciative:


Thank you for raising these questions.  When I first heard of VMT, I shared many of your concerns. 

I have been working on the VMT bill since January with my co-sponsor, Representative Carl Sciortino of Medford, and Transportation4MA, a coalition working toward improved transportation choices for Massachusetts residents. Their website can be viewed here:

H.3142, An Act to establish a Vehicle Miles Traveled Pilot Program, proposes a pilot program to identify an alternative to the gas tax. The pilot would seek 1000 volunteers from the entire Commonwealth to vary pricing on miles traveled based on proximity to public transit, time of driving, type of road, and vehicle fuel while evaluating  ways to protect data collected and ensure privacy. 

While many state legislators prefer a straight gas tax, I believe the VMT is a more equitable way to collect a “user fee” for transportation investment funds.  Western MA residents do not have public transit options comparable to those who live in the metro area. We would be unfairly burdened if the Commonwealth relied on an increase in the gas tax to fix our broken transportation system and make investments in new projects, such as passenger rail service from Pittsfield to NYC. 

Key provisions in the bill are:
• This is a limited pilot program only, and participation would be strictly voluntary.
• Various collection methods, including collection at the pump, will be tested.
• VMT is an alternative to a gas tax.  The gas tax unfairly burdens the people of Western MA who have few or no public transit options.
• Any and all location information will remain in the vehicle, and would only transmit the amount owed by the user. 

Here is a link to the bill text which I am sure you will find useful:

You mentioned the GAO.  The report I read from them is supportive of VMT fees and it starts out by stating that “mileage-based user fee initiatives in the United States and abroad show that such fees can lead to more equitable and efficient use of roadways by charging drivers based on their actual road use and by providing pricing incentives to reduce road use.”

Here’s an interesting article you might want to read that explores this idea.

I believe in investing in transportation.  It is key to economic development and job creation, not to mention quality of life.  In order to make those investments, we need revenue.  There are those who strongly advocate for a gas tax.  The VMT is a fairer way to distribute the cost and protects the people of the Berkshires.

Tricia Farley-Bouvier
State Representative
3rd Berkshire District
Room 156
State House
Boston, MA 02133

—– 00 —–

We are Squarely on ‘the Other Side’ of this Bill

First, and again, we appreciate the representative’s prompt reply, and although it has the ring and tone of boilerplate, we did find the links helpful to an extent, that being up to the point where we wanted to understand the “other side’s” position. Make no mistake: THE PLANET is squarely on the “other side” of this bill. True, its passage would implement only a small, 1,000-driver pilot program, but there are a couple of concerns:

1. Who would design and administer the pilot program? Where is the assurance that we could trust the neutrality of the sample? In other words, if the experiment is being done to achieve the results its sponsors want, what good will that do? What is the assurance this won’t happen? In graduate school, we took an entire course on how to design surveys. Part of the work was designing surveys to achieve pre-planned results, called the “Self Fulfilling Prophecy Survey.”

2. Any time Boston starts flirting with new taxes, especially with the pitch that it will be “fairer” to those in the Berkshires, you can hold on to your wallet. The outcome is never good for the bedraggled (and rapidly vanishing) middle class in these vanquished parts.

Aside from that, our first observation is that Farley-Bouvier was unopposed in November. This is a true measure of the apathy created by the GOBs to ensure their stranglehold over local politics. It’s hard for a rookie rep, especially one who was so “hand-picked” by the GOB, not to let it all go to her head. “Without opposition” usually leads to a sense of destiny, that “you” know what’s best for “them.”

As we pointed out yesterday, by producing a government that caters to the haves and spits on the have-nots, the GOBs have disgusted good, decent citizens into a shuffling disinterest in THEIR government not seen in these parts, ever. This is a historic time in that sense. Running unopposed produces the kinds of quixotic odysseys embodied by the pay-as-you go motoring bill.

By the way, strictly as a related aside, apathy also explains why the GOBs want to take all the the “subterraneans,” deadbeats, and “gimme groups” they can get from from other cities. Creating a subculture of wastrels, gang members, and dolts assures there will be fewer people of substance who would want to do something really stupid like, you know, run for office to provide competition for the chosen ones. Apathy also affords greater proportioned weight to the GOBs loyal cadre of Democrat apparatchiks, especially those who profit from (or aspire to profit from) the public trough and gravy train.

If you read the federal report on the pay-as-you-go program, fashioned after a sort from similar programs in Europe, and ignore the hype, you will find that the GAO says it just won’t work in the U.S. With 230 million vehicles and a land mass dwarfing any European country, the “pay as you go” tax would be a huge money loser, “greatly exceed[ing] the cost of collecting fuel taxes,” which is what TFB wants to replace. How would that benefit Berkshire motorists? Seems the opposite would be true.

How Would the Program Work: They Don’t Have a Clue

In introducing her bill, co-sponsored with Rep. Carl Sciortino (D-Medford), TFB admits she hasn’t a clue how the tax would be collected, where it would be collected, or by whom it would be collected. She also does not guarantee that the new tax will replace the old gasoline tax. How much you want to bet, with tax-happy Dems in charge led by Gov. Deval Taxes, Massachusetts motorists end up with two taxes where there used to be one. Notice how TFB ignored that question from THE PLANET. We asked: “What is the guarantee that, if adopted, this new tax will replace but be added to the gas tax.” She also did not directly answer other of our questions.

The bill, which would begin with a pilot program, ignores the following additional problems:

* Huge concerns over privacy. If the bill passes into law, every motor vehicle in the state would have to pack a GPS to track the location of the vehicle No potential for abuse there, eh?

* There are no reliable cost estimates.

* With costs basically unknown, how would information from a pilot program be reliably derived from a sample as small as 1,000 drivers, even assuming the testing was on the level? This question becomes particularly urgent when you realize that the larger the scale of the program, say, statewide, the more cost-ineffective it becomes.

* Why would the state want to waste any resources on a program that “boasts” a reverse economy of scale, even if in pilot form? Isn’t there a financial crisis, or is sequestering just another illusion sprung from our turbulent devotion to the sun?

Here’s the ultimate irony. Let’s say this new tax gets in. Let’s further say they will do away with the gas tax. Why, we ask, would they want to get rid of this golden-egg-laying goose? The reason is that you have been responsible, motorists. TFB and others in the government, who apparently think they don’t yet take enough of your hard-earned money via taxes, want you to pay this new tax because, since the recession hit in 2008-09, many of you have been buying smaller, more fuel efficient cars. There’s more car-pooling. You also are not taking as many discretionary car trips — the Sunday drive has become to expensive.

In other words, you did what the dumb clucks in government asked you to do: Help us save gas. Let us become energy independent. Now, too late, they realize, “Gee, that means we won’t rake in as much gas tax money.” Their solution? Tax you with a system that will likely double the taxes you pay  for having the audacity of needing to drive. You did what they asked, and now they want to penalize you for it.

TFB also doesn’t say if she will be participating in the pilot program. She racks up hefty miles to and from Berkshires and Boston, all well-covered by her $100/day+ per diem. And you probably know that for her $61,133 annual salary (not including committee assignments) TFB pays no federal taxes! Try pulling that one come April 15.

The Chris Speranzo School of Unaccountable Invisibility

Tricia Farley-Bouvier comes out of the Chris Speranzo School of Unaccountable Invisibility for Budding Pols, easily ducking what passes for a “press” in the Berkshires, being handed  a free pass on most everything, loving the stupid photo-ops (“State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier receives a ‘valentine’ with 218 signatures from MCLA students for her efforts on transportation at Monday’s forum.”), and following orders from the masters (who are, decidedly, not We The People). We are happy for her and her secure future as a hand-picked overnight success, but how much longer can We The People keep pretending that we have a representative government that cares about the little folk back home?

FROM THE PLANET’s UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY: Politician, n. = A person incapable of independent thought, typically controlled by unseen masters. A “politician” makes of words like “character” and “integrity” a chant that enters, voice by voice, like mockery into the ears of those who believe truth, justice, and fairness have a place in public life.

Word from the Web

On her web site, TFB tells us of her “threefold mission:” She wants to:

1. “generate job growth.” THAT hasn’t happened.

2. “marshal the resources of the state to enhance the quality of education available in Pittsfield.” THAT CERTAINLY hasn’t happened. We should also note that Farley-Bouvier opted for school choice, pulling her own children out of the sinking Pittsfield Public Schools in favor of the Millionaires in Lenox.

3. “improve the transparency of and accessibility to state government.” The Trifecta, because THAT hasn’t happened. It is heartening to know, though, that, like Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi, Farley-Bouvier is for “transparency.”

For once, wouldn’t you like to see one of these suits to admit it: “The last f****** thing in the world I want to do is to let you peons know what I’m doing.”

Thus, let us propose our idea of a “fairer way … to protect the people of the Berkshires.” How about we tax the amount of time our “representatives” in Boston have wasted on “our” behalf since those Big, Strong Men short-circuited free elections and set them up for life at the State House? What would you say? What’s the hourly rate for that kind of personal service? In Nevada, it’s pricey but legal.

If you would like to e-mail the state representative to share your feelings about the new tax she wants to impose on your driving, you can do so at You can call her at (413) 442-4300.


 “Dark, marvelous, and inscrutable he moved on / Till down the fiery distance he was gone, / Like one of those eternal, remote things / That range across a man’s imaginings.”E. A. Robinson




  1. Scott
    March 1, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Dan, I feel like TFB responded well and like most politicians made it sound good with delivery and style yet you still found it necessary to basically call here s shill for the GOB in Pittsfield. It just seemed a little harsh. If I read it wrong I apologized but it may indicate why some politically connected folks don’t want to talk to you.

    • In the know
      March 1, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      Scott I agree with you. The Rep was kind enough to respond to Dan, then he dumps all over her. I wouldn’t blame her if she never responds again to the Planet.

      • GEE Whiz
        March 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

        I agree with pjmh and DV on this one. The analysis of the bill and of the representative’s response was objective yet driven by logical analysis that “required” an honest judgment which DV made. I dont understand this about “just because she responded promptly the press (DV) has to agree with the spoon feeding” logic. And Planet did acknowledge the quick response. And no, NOT responding would be 10X worse.

        • danvalenti
          March 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

          We only formed the final view after considering all of the arguments. The case for the new tax does is not a strong one.

        • Teecha teecha
          March 3, 2013 at 10:17 am #

          Yes, she responded. This was more than most poliicians would. There is a REASON they dont open themselves up to such public ridicule. Dan is well within his boundaries. Was he tactless to attack after an act of good faith transparency? Maybe. But his arguments are solid 100%, thats the name of the game being a public figure.

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

            Why is it tactless to respond just as quickly to the representative as she did to me? I would also ask, since when is a prompt reply worthy of anything more than thanks. It is the job of a representative to respond fully, quickly, and openly to the media.

          • teecha
            March 4, 2013 at 9:34 am #

            my apologies. I see how I worded it wrong. the tactless was a matter of perspective. I personally do not find it so. Hence the ‘maybe’ afterwards. my apologies dan. I feel you were 100% within your rights in the way you handled it.

          • danvalenti
            March 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

            Thanks. It takes a large heart to offer an apology, although, to be honest, none is necessary.

    • pjmh
      March 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Respectfully disagree. I don’t know a thing about this particular bill, but with a few links here and there mixed in with some and some blah-blah-blah 🙂 , I could have come up with a similar response.

      Just sayin’.

      • Joe Pinhead
        March 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        I too am a huge proponent of roses and sunshine, I only hope that we join the united front to ensure ice cream and orange soda for every child in the Commonwealth. There are those who will stop at nothing to deny the children a fridge full of orange soda and a freezer full of ice cream. I need your help in ensuring the goal, remember the Dentists are for this it’s, those bad Drs who hide behind terms like empty calories and obesity. Join me in finding an equitable way of ensuring ice cream and orange soda. I will be working hard for you in this endeavor. I will however need your vote and your contribution of cash. Please no more questions you will know we succeeded when you either see a ton of empty orange soda bottles in the street.

        just sayin

    • danvalenti
      March 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      Don’t apologize for your interpretation. As for “politically connected” folks not wanting to talk to me, that has been an occupational hazard of yours truly for nearly 40 years now. When it happens, it tells us much more than they realize. It also suggests the stupidity of those “connected” folks who would do this. When they don’t talk to me, what do they think? That I’m going to stop with a story? No way. I just talk to others, who will give me THEIR version.

  2. Still wondering
    March 1, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    There is no way TFB thought up this bill on her own. She was spoon-fed this bill by Prince Deval and the hyper liberals in Boston. They figured that a rookie rep that nobody knows and who has no viable threat to her state rep job was the perfect one to submit this bill.
    This bill is window dressing to the political future of Prince Deval. He’s destined for high office in D.C. and this bill along with his “plans” will assure the national democrat party that Deval has the proper pedigree.
    It’s all a colossal waste of time.

    • danvalenti
      March 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      That’s another of my questions the 3rd Berkshire Rep ignored.

  3. Dave G
    March 1, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    don’t we pay excise taxes to use the roads now? Seems to me that the Berkshires, having very little public transportation, must rely heavily on vehicles to get from point A to point B. Thus we would be taxed to a greater extent for having no choice but to use cars.Would that mean no more excise tax? Yeah, right!

  4. Bull Durham
    March 1, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    “While many state legislators prefer a straight gas tax, I believe the VMT is a more equitable way to collect a “user fee” for transportation investment funds. Western MA residents do not have public transit options comparable to those who live in the metro area. We would be unfairly burdened if the Commonwealth relied on an increase in the gas tax to fix our broken transportation system and make investments in new projects, such as passenger rail service from Pittsfield to NYC.”

    Sorry, this makes no sense. Because Western Mass residents don’t have access to good mass transit, we absolutely rely on using our cars, which means we will be footing a larger bill on this tax than anywhere else. And you know the existing gas tax is going nowhere. Just like when we were told the excise tax would be eliminated after x-number of years… and that was decades ago… and we were told all of the tolls on the Pike would disappear when the original bond bill was paid off… which happened in the 80’s, I believe.

    Once state government gets its hands on your money, they never give it back. This is another example of the state wanting more, more, more, and refusing to cut anywhere or even keep a good eye on the money it has (Welfare Department fraud is rampant, as we all know).

    And really… does anyone actually expect the Berkshires will get ‘real’ mass transit out of any of this ‘investment?’ Can’t wait for that subway from Pittsfield to North Adams to be built.

    • danvalenti
      March 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      You’re right. “This makes no sense,” for the reasons you (and I) have cited. When will Boston understand you can’t keep taxing people back to the Stone Age. Not even my Barney Rubble to your Fred Flinstone would make that worth happening, although a round of blizzard golf might be just the thing this month.

  5. The Kraken
    March 1, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    “I believe in investing in transportation” is just TFB-speak for “your taxes are going up and you’ll see nothing for it”. It’s none of the government’s business how many miles I drive or how much gas I use. Since when do they have a right to track where my car goes? This is all just a ruse to take more money out of hard working taxpayer’s pockets. And where is the mention of what this is going to cost to implement this? Funny how those things are never mentioned. One more thing, the vast majority of any dollars stolen from the taxpayers for this will go to eastern MA., not here.

  6. Jonathan Melle
    March 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    All of Massachusetts’ transportation funding went to the Big Dig, which cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. The state government finances the debt on the Big Dig to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Massachusetts is the #1 per capita debtor state government in the nation. If Tricia Farley Bouvier wanted to tackle transportation policies, she would work on a new financial plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

  7. Joe Pinhead
    March 1, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    A couple of questions that come to mind regarding this proposal; If the tax would be based upon where what and why driven in the Commonwealth would tourists who spend time here be required to retrofit their vehicle with the device immediately upon entering the commonwealth? What about truckers and other commercial vehicles? Say a person was rushing blood from CT to a Boston based healthcare provider? Are you suggesting they stop retrofit a transmitter than continue? Or would they get a free pass? Say I was to fly into Albany and rent a car for a few weeks would it come from Hertz fitted? Or would I be a scofflaw and drive without regard for this “user fee”.
    How would the funds be distributed? If it is in fact based upon where driven the Berkshires would not be getting there fare share based upon the fact that many drive out of the Berkshires for work daily. If I drove from Pittsfield to Boston routinely for work, Pittsfield would actually lose monies. Ex I leave home 430 am (cheap hours presumably) on a Pittsfield road (lower volume) arrive in Boston at 730 (peak time on peak road) highest charge to the eastern end of the state. How is this equitable for the children residing in Pittsfield? So I and my fellow taxpayers will be punished by yet another lack of funding locally due to the dismal job market created in part by the elected officials. The reverse is also true let’s say I left Boston for a wonderful weekend of skiing (presuming the roads are not closed due to snow) and I left Boston at say 5 pm (peak hours busy roadway) and stop for dinner say midway arrive in the Berkshires at 8pm (lower use time of day and lower used roadway) Oh how the Children will suffer under this scheme.
    Lucy you got some splainin to do
    Please rethink this there is nothing less than the very future of our children at stake here, after all its “for the children”

    • danvalenti
      March 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      We are glad you are still on the side of the law! Thanks for your usual brilliance.

  8. Relax
    March 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    This has been tried in other states on a Pilot basis. And, certain countries in Europe tax drivers this way. Finland comes to mind. And, one does not have a constitutional right to drive a car, or much privacy while in it. So please just relax.

    • Joe Blow
      March 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      WOW…people like you scare me.

    • Scott
      March 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      Driving is looked at as a privilege but only in the aspect that you don’t abuse it. The state has to have a good reason to take it away. Privacy and self defense should follow to the interior of your privately owned vehicle. I don’t care where it is we do pay excise tax for each one as well as insurance, registration and safety inspection.

    • FPR
      March 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      Yeah just relax. You have little or no rights left. Stay warm while they turn up the heat very slowly in the water. Don’t fear you may wake up one day boiling to death.

      Just give them all your liberties one by one until you have none left.

      • danvalenti
        March 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

        Precisely, FPR. Death by attrition. Just relax. The rights you lose were once your own.

  9. Kate Dempsey
    March 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I have a question for Tricia Lincoln Farley Smith Johnson Kennedy Wilson Thomas-Bouvier, if you’re going to tax drivers based on mileage driven, than is the state going to pay back the cities and towns for their police and fire depatments mileage? My guess is not. Take a city like Pittsfield, those crusiers probably put on 1500-2000 miles a week (total). If Boston isn’t going to pay for this, than the city will further tax the tax-payer to cover cost.

    How about focusing on welfare rats putting in some elbow grease to pay back and give thanks to those of us who support them. I mean if they can go to the bars, pop pills, or abuse drugs/alcohol, on the tax-payer dime, why can’t they mow a city park, shovel snow, or wash state/city vehicles? Just a thought.

    • danvalenti
      March 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      We love the tone of this, KATE.

  10. tito
    March 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    She talks like Jack fought!

  11. joetaxpayer
    March 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Agree with Kate lets get some revenue back by passing legislation to stop welfare fraud. Of course TFB and other Berk. Reps voted against bills to try and stop the hemorrhaging.I find it funny that someone who gets paid $6,660 dollars to drive to work is looking to take money out of my pocket to do the same.

    • Scott
      March 2, 2013 at 4:54 am #

      Then that would put the city workers out of a job…

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      JOE, KAT, ET AL
      Can you imagine how many millions (billions) are there if the politicians, bureaucrats, etc. could put even a small dent in welfare fraud. I refuse to believe they cannot safeguard the money we give for welfare in a more professional and foolproof way.

      • joetaxpayer
        March 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

        Dan that is why I cannot understand why the legislatures in Boston keep blocking welfare reform. It starts at the top. Our Governor refuses to enforce some of the basic laws regarding this matter .He still allows people to submit electric bills as proof of residence.

        • danvalenti
          March 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

          JOE THE T
          Think of it this way. By creating a dependent subclass, what THE PLANET calls the “subterraneans,” politicians (in the Bay State’s case, Democrat politicians) have a built-in group that relies on the welfare dollars of the state. Much of that translates into votes for Dems or, even better for them, the apathy of NOT voting. Welfare reform would endanger this scheme.

      • Scott
        March 3, 2013 at 8:48 am #

        They can start by #1 closing case files of people who become incarcerated and #2 closing the case files of people they can’t contact. #3 if you’re a single man or woman with no children you don’t get food stamps or other assistance. Get a job shit get two jobs work nights and weekends.

  12. tito
    March 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    I don’t believe the Reps pay taxes on their income.

  13. Joe Pinhead
    March 2, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    I am certain the good representative is following the dialog here so I would like to ask her the question posed to me by the children.
    Ms.Farley-Bouvair you mentioned above in essence we need a more equatable solution to be sure the Berkshire gets our fair portion, do you feel the current Berkshire delegation has not or will not continue to bring back a fair portion of the revenue for our children? Have both us and our children been short changed in the past? If so can you please point out a few pieces of legislation that have been detrimental to our children and why? I am speaking strictly transportation legislation since I am certain you researched and followed that legislation before sponsoring the current legislation. Also a few of the children I spoke to asked me if you had what they referred to as a fall back plan? Those crazy kids thinking about a plan b. I f you do have a plan b could you share it here or point all of us towards it from here? IE provide us another link.
    Thank you in advance for sharing this with the children.
    Just sayin

    • dusty
      March 2, 2013 at 9:23 am #

      My guess is that this woman does exactly as she is told and is not really interested in anything the voters might have to say. I know that is not the way it is supposed to be but something tells me it is a little different in Massachusetts.

      You might as well be addressing president, Park Geun-hye of Korea for all the good this post will do.

      but I do admire your efforts.

      • Still wondering
        March 4, 2013 at 7:26 am #

        Dusty is correct. Tricia Blah-Blah does exactly as she is told.

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      Thanks for thinking of “The Children.”

  14. Blind Justice
    March 2, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    The tax on usage is already there , TRICIA!!!

    It is a gasoline tax that your friends on Beacon Hill siphon off for their friends and themselves.

    I am sick of the cesspool that is Beacon Hill and the waste of my tax dollars. We do not need a new tax, we need to get rid of mindless zombies in government like yourself

  15. The Kraken
    March 2, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Some more thoughts on this.
    No way TFB wrote this bill – doesn’t have the aptitude.
    If this stupid idea is implemented, the regular gas tax WILL remain in place. Otherwise, how are they going to tax non MA residents who fill up here?
    The excise tax will also remain.
    To anyone who thinks this is a good idea just because other states or countries are doing it, let me remind you that a smart person learns from their own mistakes, but a genius learns from the mistakes of others. In other words, if you repeat the mistakes of others you are an idiot.

    • Blind Justice
      March 2, 2013 at 9:38 am #

      Well said


      Did YOU vote for her?

      • Blind Justice
        March 2, 2013 at 9:39 am #

        Not you Kraken

        • The Kraken
          March 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

          I have never voted for TFB, and never will.

          • Kevin
            March 5, 2013 at 8:37 am #

            I wrote in Mickey Mouse. Also TBF voted against the 3 strikes Legislation…It’s our own fault.

  16. Ron Kitterman
    March 2, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    How very thoughtful, progressive and understanding , to penalize the working folks, especially those with lengthy commutes, to tax them more than the millions of the populous that uses the MBTA to commute to work everyday. Let’s not forget the pizza delivery driver that uses their own vehicle, working for minimum wage and tips. So much for buying a Toyota Prius to satisfy the green politicians and save a little at the pump. Not buying the theory myself, but do appreciate the response from Rep. Farley-Bouvier, hopefully this goes nowhere and dies in committee.

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      Your first sentence says it all. Great job.

  17. Ron Kitterman
    March 2, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Time for Shays Rebellion ll

    March 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    I have an aquqintenance who comutes to Schenectady five days a week. I suppose he would have to register a car in NY. The gov also wants to lower the sales thax to 4.5 % and raise the income tax to a flat 6.25%. Sounds good to me and thousands of other state retirees, we pay no state income tax, except on our vast holdings.

  19. Relax
    March 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    As is typical with these lazy responses, no one actually does the math. For each gallon of gas, you pay 41.9 cents in taxes (18.4 to the feds and 23.5 to MA). Say your tank holds 20 gallons. That’s $8.38 cents per week you pay in taxes if you fill up once per week. Per year, that’s $436 in gas taxes, and closer to $1000 for a two car family. This is on top of excise taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, and car payments.

    So, if a driving tax lessened your gas tax expense even by 10%, it’s worth considering, no? The state is not going to track where you drive, but how many miles you drive.

    Think before you respond, please. Thanks.

    • FPR
      March 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      How is an additional tax going to lower anything? They won’t do away with the gas tax. This will be in addition to. Plus they definitely will track where you are and where you are going and where you’ve been — its just how GPS works.

      The whole idea stinks to high heaven. It should be thrown out before it ever gets any momentum. People should turn in droves and oppose this.

      • danvalenti
        March 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

        An “additional tax” = “Lower taxes” only with an Orwellian use of “1984” “Thoughtspeak” … War is Peace … Love is Hate. The sad thing is that, with politics on all levels today, that is how these empty suits employ language. Speaking of Orwell, Everyone should read his classic essay, “Politics and the English Language.” His prophecies about bureaucratic language have come chillingly true.

    • Joe Pinhead
      March 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      The question in many minds was not the amount- however the “equitable distribution” or in Trica Farley-Bouvair’s own words “The VMT is a fairer way to distribute the cost and protects the people of the Berkshires.” No mention of how much this revenue stream would identify just the distribution and method of collection. Speaking of lazy and not thinking before they respond, the state is in this position in part because of the increased fuel mileage and hybrid vehicles IE less gas tax revenue. Are you going to tell us all here that our taxes on fuel will go down and we will have more state revenue for transportation projects? Please splain that math? And please tell me what it is I am being protected from? A revenue grab? Elected officials are the only people we need protection from.
      Were not lazy were only looking out for the children, the establishment is intent on harming them.

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Thanks for taking up the “other side.” You have helped advance the discussion.

  20. Joe Blow
    March 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    So if I drive out of state are those miles still counted?

    • Joe Pinhead
      March 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      Great point the tax at the pump is based upon where purchased, so if I fill up in Pittsfield and drive to Albany for dinner and return and buy more gas in Pittsfield the Commonwealth gets full tax on product consumed. Or even better if we keep our tax lower than NY or CT those drivers in proximity head over the hill to Pittsfield to fill up, If the taxes are turned into a user fee coming over the hill would be even better for the consumer (if we are to believe the tax is a replacement and not a supplement) as the price of a gallon of gas would go down .23 or so meaning even more drivers consuming our roadways without any charge for doing so. Now what elected official could allow for anyone to escape from anything untaxed?
      Just sayin

      • danvalenti
        March 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

        Yes. What if I drive to NYC on business (or pleasure, for that matter). How do those miles not count? Perhaps the most glaring unanswered question is how we were ignored when asking for a guarantee that if “pay-as-you-go” were to become law, would she assure of that the gas tax would go away. We got nothing but silence. What are the odds, my good friends, that if “pay” becomes law, it is added to, not substituted for, the gas tax?

        • FPR
          March 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

          Yes Dan. When have you ever seen them do away with an existing tax? The Federal Income tax was started to pay for WWII and was supposed to be done away with when the war ended.

          Did that ever happen?

          The Massachusetts Turnpike tolls were only supposed to be temporary and to be done away with after so many years.

          Did that ever happen?

          The Massachusetts Lottery was supposed to pay for all the schools and road construction. That’s what we were told to usher in the state lottery.

          Did that ever happen?

          If the pay as you go GPS shackle Big Brother new tax passes with the idea that the gas tax will be done away with and substituted out……

          Do you think that will EVER happen?

          • Tom Sakshaug
            March 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

            Well, the federal income tax started with the ratification of the 16th amendment to the Constitution in 1913…a little before WWI and quite a bit earlier than WWII. Rates did rise for WWII but came down afterward for the lower brackets especially.
            The rest of the post seems correct. These days taxes are rarely if ever repealed. This particular one is a dog, from an additional tax viewpoint or a Big Brother viewpoint. There are too many “what ifs” on this, as clearly explained by previous postings including this one by FPR.
            However, I can’t agree with DV’s assertion that GOB-induced apathy prevents anyone from running against Tricia. Stop bitching and go out to get those signatures if you think she’s doing a bad job and you can do better!

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

            Let’s get real. TFB was hand-picked to run to fill the remainder of Chris’s seat. Peter White was recruited to split the opposition vote. Prior to that, Chris was hand picked to fill the remainder of Peter Larkin’s seat. Pam Malumphy was recruited by the Dems to split the vote and make sure Rhonda Serre had no chance. True, anyone could have filed the papers with the requisite signatures, but who would have the independent resources to realistically compete against a Chosen One hand-slected by the local Dem machine. I stand by my assertion, and the token opposition (or in the case of the last election for 3rd Berkshire, NO opposition) proves the validity of my P.O.V.

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Great question. The sponsors of this bill do not have the answer, which indicated how poorly thought out this this proposal is.

  21. tito
    March 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Planet, this almost smells like metered water to regulate consumption, where the more you use the more you pay, the less you use, the less….may be wrong, but it sure seems like it.

  22. tito
    March 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    This proposal ain’t going to pass anyway.

  23. Joe Pinhead
    March 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Relax, Where does your 10% savings come from? I will still fill my car at least once a week, Will it come from driving off hours and on less traveled streets and roads? if so I ask how does this invest more in local transportation? Will all the money stay local? The fact is we would and currently are being punished for a delegation that would rather stuff ANOTHER tax down our throats than risk pissing off the political hacks in Boston. If the Local delegation is so concerned about local revenues and transportation projects I have some real proposals.
    1. Every time an elected official mentions job creation in any publc forum a tax of $10.00 would be imposed the commonwealth would be rolling in dough.

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      We should implement that last point during the 2013 campaign. If I’m running for mayor, I see one of two options on this:
      a.) Lie through my pearly whites about “job creation,” only do it better than they do.
      b.) Admit the mayor doesn’t create one damned job. The mayor can, though, identify and help bring about the conditions that tend to make areas such as the Berkshires successful.

    • Relax
      March 3, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      I said “if” this VMT proposal saves you money, it’s worth considering. Nonetheless, I consider it unlikely that the state will do away with the gas tax, but a Pilot program is worthwhile, if only to test the waters.

      And, we need to get away from this knee jerk invasion of privacy, “there taking away your rights,” reaction when it comes to these issues. First, you have no real expectation of privacy when you’re on the road. You are in a public place, your car is registered, insured, and inspected. The cops can pull you over for a myriad of reasons. Cameras on the Pike record the date and time when you pass through. Your cell phone can be used to pinpoint your location. The notion of privacy in a car is a fantasy.

      • The Kraken
        March 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

        You forgot to mention that the taxpayers are paying for the pilot program. Therefore it is a another waste of taxpayer money. There is also a big difference between being on camera on the pike (which you do not have to take) and having the gov’t force you to install a GPS on your car. You are comparing apples to oranges.

        • Relax
          March 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

          Nowhere did I say that I support the government installing a GPS on your car. My simple point is that it’s really not that big of a deal to certify how many miles one drives in a given year. If you deduct mileage as a business expense on your taxes, you have to disclose miles driven. It’d be relatively easy for an inspection station to verify mileage at the annual safety inspection. The computer system is already tied into the DMV.

          Again, if a VMT saves you money in lieu of a gas tax, it’s worth a look. I too think it unlikely that state could free itself from its addiction to the gas tax, but the idea for a VMT is not a crazy one.

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

            It’s not so much how many miles you drive. As you point out, R, mileage is often reported, for example, on those who itemize taxes and have schedule C deductions. One cannot, however, simply dismiss the GPS aspect of this bill. In fact, the only way this law could be enacted (if passed after a successful pilot program) is with the installation of GPS systems in each Bay State car. That’s when the potential Orwellian problems begin. Glad you agree that Massachusetts will never voluntarily get rid of the gas tax. This means, then, if the “pay-as-you-go” is adopted, it will be a supplementary tax, not a replacement tax.

          • The Kraken
            March 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

            It’s not going to save the taxpayers money, don’t you get that? This will be in additional to the existing gas and excise taxes. And they won’t just be tracking miles, because if they were, a GPS would NOT be needed. Mileage is easily tracked at inspection time.
            If you read the bill, it is clearly stated that is bill’s purpose is to increase revenue, In other words, to levy more tax.

      • danvalenti
        March 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

        What is “knee jerk” about the privacy issue. Even TFB acknowledges that privacy concerns are one of the major hurdles involved with this program. Also, I would strongly disagree that when a motorist is on the roads, roads that are paid for by his/her taxes, he/she have every right to expect that where, when, and how often he/she drives is not the government’s business. Think strategically and not tactically: The true privacy concerns will come not now but down the road (pun intended). You will have no control over what is done with the monitoring data at some future point. Privacy in a car is no more a fantasy than privacy anywhere else.

        • Relax
          March 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm #


          The Supreme Court ruled a long time ago that you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your car. You are traveling on public roads, after all. And, the motor vehicle is one of the most heavily regulated products anyone uses. Certainly, the technology exists to track only the mileage driven (like an odometer check), and not the places driven to and. No one wants the state to know where you go and when. But, when you sell your car, you have to certify the mileage on the odometer is accurate (the days of rolling it back are long past). The state already knows what kind of car you drive, where you live, how much you make, etc. If you deduct automobile usage on your taxes, you have to disclose mileage. It’s not a fundamentally new imposition to have to certify how many miles one drives in a given year.

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

            Good points, and we agree. In your words, “No one wants the state to know where you go and when.” In that fine sentence, you have validated my point, succinctly. It’s not the state knowing how many miles you drive (they do that at each inspection, for example). It’s to keep them from knowing where you are at any given point in time via GPS. That’s the proverbial “slippery turnpike.”

  24. tito
    March 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    @PLANET?? The only jobs the Last Mayor created were his own appointments, but had to laugh when he was running the first time, remember his jobs, jobs, jobs, and infamous Rolodex comment?

    • Joe Pinhead
      March 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Dont forget the Con and the Snow job

      • danvalenti
        March 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

        Yes, those are two jobs the GOB always creates.

  25. Mike Ward
    March 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Hey, how ’bout we all quit the name calling? If you don’t like the bill I suggest you weigh in with the Rep. I did it three weeks ago. I read about this bill in the Eagle on February 7th and I sent a note that day to Tricia voicing my concern over the complexity and cost of implementation. I also warned her that privacy concerns would draw very strong opposition.
    Getting three like-minded constituents to call or write Tricia will help your cause more than calling her names.

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      Thanks for the sobering note. I had to edit two of the comments for that very reason. That being said, we must understand that this type of invective reflects the utter frustration with politicians for submitting ill-conceived, poorly thought out proposals that, if implemented, will end up penalizing what remains of the middle class. Also, two other points: Compared to the online open-sewer of Topix, we are “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” plus, can we expect high policy discourse in this age of CATV screaming heads, who try to replace logic and reason in debate with angry shouting over each other?

    • Scott
      March 3, 2013 at 6:14 am #

      Good post Mike Ward.

    • Tom Sakshaug
      March 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      Right on, Mike. I have found that all of our local reps are pretty easy to contact via phone or email, and will listen to constituent concerns. Yes, this bill sucks. Call or write TFB and let her know what you think. She will pay attention. So will Ben Downing, Paul Mark, Smitty Pignatelli, and Gail Cariddi. Presenting your views calmly and sensibly goes a long way. If you don’t like the response, take out papers or support someone else to run.

      • danvalenti
        March 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

        We agree. The bill sucks. That alone is reason enough to questions the wisdom, the motivation, and the action of TFB in co-sponsoring this pilot program. We gave her a chance to convince us that the bill does not suck. She not only did not do so, but she ignored several key questions. I do agree with the strategy of “ordinary” citizens contacting their reps. While saying that, I also acknowledge the experience of many I have to who report experiences where they were basically blown off after contacting a local rep. My advice to them: Become a pest. Keep after it.

  26. joetaxpayer
    March 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Mike agree no need for name calling, but when you run for office that is part of the package. I don’t agree with it but that is how it works.

  27. tito
    March 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Also agreed Mike, there is an idiot comment above, Planet must have missed it. Does saying someone hasn’t missed many meals fall in the name calling category?

  28. ShirleyKnutz
    March 3, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Mike by your comment it seems like you are for this legislation. By calling or talking to our representative will not make a difference. I have had many interactions with her and from my view did not mean a “hill of beans!”, which I feel I will have to stock up on due to all the increased taxes I will see!

    • Mike Ward
      March 3, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Sorry my post wasn’t clear. I don’t like the bill. I don’t think the transponder idea is an improvement over the existing gas tax. I don’t think it looks good on paper and I don’t think a pilot is going to prove otherwise.

      • Evian
        March 3, 2013 at 10:14 am #

        Mike Ward I have written to my representatives on a number of occasions including Tricia. The only one ever to respond to me was Ben Downing. The others, Trish and before her Chris Speranzo then Peter Larkin, I felt basically ignored. I had an issue of great personal concern and I was basically blown off in a condscending way. I am one of those DV mentions when he says we are “utterly disgusted” with the arrogance of most sitting politicians. That’s where I think the frustration boils over in to name calling etc.

        • danvalenti
          March 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

          This is the point, EV. We have heard countless tales like yours. The People have tried, and pretty much exhausted, writing directly to reps … unfortunately.

          • Mike Ward
            March 3, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

            In all fairness though Dan you can only expect so much from a single letter or email. When I wrote Tricia three weeks ago she responded to me promptly but she didn’t change her mind just because Mike Ward wrote her a note. She may reconsider when she gets the sense that nobody wants this thing, but people need to speak up and participate. Your civic duty doesn’t end on election day.

  29. edconnect
    March 3, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Will bicycles also be equipped with gps monitoring? Why should cyclists be immune from paying a tax on the same roads? And what about scooters?

    • Mike Ward
      March 3, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      Those dorks already have GPS.

      • Dave
        March 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

        Dan, I’m assuming(and hoping) that you haven’t deleted this post, or at least made it clear that this last post was not really Mike Ward because you have not read this yet. The main problem I have with the “pilot program” is that it is a voluntary program. I’m guessing that the selection process for the “voluntary” program will have, shall I say, people with a stake in the process, or people who know they will benefit from it. On another point, please ask Barry why he feels that a proactive approach to the pot dispensary issue is a bad thing. Maybe he wants to have have no conversation about the issue because it is “premature”, and instead wants to wait for the companies who now have a legal right to do business in the city to dictate said conversation-We already know the “over my dead body” defense does not work!

        • danvalenti
          March 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

          I don’t understand. To which of Mike’s comments are you referring?

          • Tom Sakshaug
            March 3, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

            Probably about dorks. I think he meant scooter dorks.

        • Mike Ward
          March 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

          Dave, I was making a joke at my own expense (because I’m a cyclist). I also thought the irony of me calling cyclists dorks after my post about name calling…well if I have to explain it, it wasn’t a very good joke.

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

            It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last that a rapier wit such as yourself gets a flat. Been there and done that many time myself … and I’m not even a cyclist.

          • Dave
            March 4, 2013 at 6:53 am #

            Sory mike, I obvusly not smart nuff to get the jookes of the smart peoples.

          • Mike Ward
            March 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

            You were trying to help, Dave. Thank you.

  30. tito
    March 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    How about toilet paper usage and consumption, we need to be looking to preserve our tree’s.

  31. Gene
    March 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I don’t like name calling but I understand it, I also agree with a point Dan made about the comments on Planet site as opposed to Topix. Here, we get what I feel is a pretty good dialogue going. There its stuff I never thought we’d read ever anywhere but much less on a public forum.

  32. edconnect
    March 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    why should cyclists be able to ride our roads tax free if TFB has her way?

  33. Gene
    March 4, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    It just seems that’s now the first response of politicians to the deficit mess they’ve created. Tax the middle class some more, even though there’s not much left in the piggy bank. They’re killing us and they want more from us.