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.
â€œJennifer Bensonâ€™s flip-flop-flip on taxes should be disturbing to votersâ€, Hayesâ€™ campaign manager, Karl Beckstein said. â€œAs a candidate in 2008, she stated emphatically that she would not raise taxes. As soon as she was elected and sworn in, her first bill was a new tax on consumers. She voted for the sales tax increase, and passed up two opportunities to repeal the new sales tax on alcohol. This double-taxation on alcohol is hurting small business owners in her towns. Now that sheâ€™s up for re-election, she made a calculated election-year vote for the sales-tax holiday, and is now voicing support for ballot question 1 to repeal the alcohol sales tax. First she was against tax increases, then she was for them, now sheâ€™s against them again. Iâ€™ve heard of flip-flops, but never a flip-flop-flip.
Beckstein concluded, â€œThe voters must decide to hold her accountable for these actions when they go to the voting booth on November 2ndâ€. Her record shows that despite any campaign promises, she will vote to increase your taxes again if given the chanceâ€.
Commenting on the tax voting record of his opponent, Hayes said, â€œVoters deserve to know where you stand on issues. I am committed to reining in state government spending, driving reforms, and cutting taxes, not increasing them. That is why I earned the endorsement of the Citizens for Limited Taxationâ€™s 2 Â½ PAC, while my opponent received a 7% rating from them based on her votes while in office. I look forward to welcoming voters to my open town-hall style meetings and telling folks clearly and honestly where I stand on issues that are important to them. They deserve to know how I will represent them. I would never tell them one thing to get their vote and then do another once in office.â€
The plastic bag tax bill is viewableÂ here.
The roll-call vote for the sales tax increase is 09-087
The roll-call vote for repeal the alcohol tax in 2009 is 09-264. A Yes vote sent the issue to study, killing the measure to repeal the sales tax on alcohol.
The roll-call vote for repeal the alcohol tax in 2010 is 10-362. A Yes vote sent the issue to study, killing the measure to repeal the sales tax on alcohol.
Citizens for Limited Taxation legislative scorecard is viewableÂ here.