Officials: Transportation Funding Gap Cant Be Closed by Cuts Alone

(NECN: Jennifer Eagan) - Just miles from the border of sales tax-free New Hampshire, Silvana Perinna is part-owner of Stone One Marble and Granite in Methuen, Mass. 

The average purchase runs in the thousands of dollars. Perinna said a possible hike in the state sales tax would chip away at business. 

“People, even if they have the money to spend, if they can save $100, $200, $250, they’re going to make the extra trip,” Perinna said on Monday after learning state officials are considering another hike in the state sales tax just three years after it was raised more than 1 percent.

Increasing the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 7.75 percent is one of a menu of options presented by the Department of Transportation on Monday. The agency said the state is in dire need of funding to fix, maintain and upgrade the state’s network of highways and mass transit. 

Other options include increasing the income tax from 5.25 percent to 5.66 percent, or raising the gas tax.

State officials said the transportation system needs $1.02 billion each year for each of the next 10 years.

Governor Deval Patrick plans to reveal which options he prefers during his State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday. 

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