Geoff Diehl Gets Specific On Tax-Cutting Agenda

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If elected governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) wants to cut taxes.

But which taxes would Diehl like to see cut?

Diehl told NewBostonPost in an in-person interview that two taxes immediately come to mind:  the motor vehicle excise tax and the state sales tax. 

“Right off the bat, I think what we need to do right now is eliminate the excise tax on cars in Massachusetts,” Diehl told NewBostonPost. “One of the things people know is a big preventative to buying a new car is not only the current cost of vehicles but the fact that in the following years you’re going to be hit by the state for a very high amount of money. Depending on the value of the car, it could be 6, 7, $800 in the first year of the excise tax.”

The motor vehicle excise tax rate in Massachusetts is $25 per $1,000 of the value of the vehicle, according to The average price for a used car in Massachusetts was about $33,000 this past spring. A car valued at that amount costs $825 in motor vehicle excise tax.

Diehl added that abolishing the motor vehicle excise tax could help the environment; he noted that it would make owning electric vehicles less expensive in addition to gas-powered ones. 

“The way to get people into more efficient vehicles and into something that’s maybe a hybrid or electric is to get rid of that excise tax,” Diehl said. “Now, the excise tax is collected locally at the town and city level, but what the state can do is reimburse the cities and towns with the billions of excess revenue to make that happen.”

“I think in the long term, that’s the best way to continually incentivize people to upgrade their vehicles to more efficient models – otherwise people tend to hold onto their vehicles a lot longer,” he said.

In addition, Diehl said he wants to lower the state sales tax from 6.25 percent back down to 5 percent, where it was from November 1975 to August 2009.

“I’d like to see us be a more competitive state with our neighboring states and give our businesses a shot in the arm because we had 50,000 people leave Massachusetts last year,” Diehl said. “A lot of those people were employees or job creators because they just feel like the state has just gotten so expensive. If we can reduce the expense to the consumer by lowering our sales tax to five percent, I think that sends a strong signal that Massachusetts wants you to come here, stay here, and make this your long-term, future investment for a home or a company.”

“I think that it’s clear that we’re overtaxing people and the sales tax is a clear example of something we can do for people in this state,” he added.

The first state sales tax in Massachusetts took effect in April 1966. It was 3 percent. The sales tax increased to 5 percent in November 1975.

In 2009, then-Governor Deval Patrick signed a budget bill into law that increased the state’s sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent (with a 0.75 percent local-option meals tax if individual cities and towns adopt it). Since then, many Republican candidates have included sales tax reduction as a part of their campaign platforms — including then-candidate Charlie Baker in 2010.

Diehl is running for governor against Democratic attorney general Maura Healey. His running mate is former state representative Leah Cole Allen (R-Peabody); Healey’s running mate is Salem mayor Kim Driscoll.


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