During the 2008 campaign for State Representative, Democrat candidate Jen Benson pledged not to raise taxes by stating in a debate with Republican opponent Kurt Hayes, â€œI would not raise taxes. I would hold steady where we are on the income tax until we get through this fiscal period. I would not advocate for raising taxes whether it be income taxes, gas taxes, anything because we know our families are hurting and we need them to get back on their feet.â€
As State Representative in 2009, the first bill proposed by Benson was a new five cent tax on plastic bags at grocery stores. Benson voted for the sales tax increase, and just days later announced a Beacon Hill fundraiser that was attended by lobbyist and special guest House Speaker Robert DeLeo. When given opportunities in both 2009 and 2010 to repeal the new alcohol sales tax, Representative Benson voted with Democrat party leadership to send the measure to â€˜studyâ€™ rather than make an up-or-down vote on removing the double-taxation on alcohol.