By Bob Katzen

The House 143-5, Senate 36-0, approved and sent to Gov. Baker a bill imposing a $2 tax on car rentals to fund municipal police training.

Amendment supporters said the small fee would raise up to $10 million annually for this fund established by the criminal justice law signed by Gov. Baker last month.

“This is the result of years of tireless advocacy from the Mass Chiefs of Police Association and other law enforcement entities to secure a dedicated revenue stream for police training,” said Rep. Hal Naughton (D-Clinton). “This will ensure our officers in the commonwealth have access to better training practices and resources as well as fulfill training mandates required by the state. Training is critical for officers to safely do their jobs and it is more important than ever that we make sure our men and women in law enforcement get all the support they need to keep us all safe.”

“I am extremely disappointed that police training money was used as a cover to create a new tax on rental cars,” said Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton). The commonwealth has a $1.2 billion surplus of revenue and yet the state could not find the money to fund police training without raising taxes. Unfortunately, all too often when a tax is implemented for a purpose it disappears into the General Fund.”

“The commonwealth’s municipal police officers have been underserved by reliance on an annual budget appropriation to the Municipal Police Training Council,” said Rep. Tim Whelan (R-Brewster), a former police officer. “The bill is a vehicle for guaranteed funding long sought by the Mass Chiefs of Police Association to ensure our brave law enforcement officers have resources available to give them access to the training they need to improve their safety and their dedicated service to our communities.”

“I completely support our police and their need for ongoing training,” said Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica). “I oppose a new tax to fund this while we have a $1.2 billion budget surplus. We should have funded this within the budget with existing revenues.”

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