DiZoglio to File Bill Exempting Active Duty Military from Excise Tax

Under new legislation to be filed by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), active duty members of the military would be exempted from motor vehicle excise taxes while serving.

Presently in the Commonwealth, disabled veterans and former prisoners of war have the opportunity to apply for a motor vehicle excise tax exemption. This does not, however, apply to all active duty members during their service. DiZoglio’s legislation comes on the heels of Methuen City Councilor Thomas Ciulla’s introduction of a city measure exempting active duty members from the excise tax. Ciulla’s proposal passed unanimously.

Ciulla was inspired to address this issue by a constituent, Diane Amato, who reached out to him about the challenges she and her daughter Alfina, who is serving in Afghanistan, have faced with excise taxes. Even though Alfina is abroad serving the country and unable to use a vehicle stateside, she is charged with a motor vehicle excise tax.

This is not the first bill DiZoglio filed this year in regard to the motor vehicle excise tax. Another sponsored bill, House Bill 2484, An Act relative to motor vehicle excises taxes, is designed to simply the excise tax process and prevent multiple excise charges.

“In recent years, through the passage of such legislation as the Valor Act, we have made great strides in the Legislature in improving services to our courageous veterans,” said DiZoglio. “We have for years provided disabled veterans and former prisoners of war with the ability to be exempted from motor vehicle excise taxes and I feel strongly that this opportunity should be expanded to all active duty military members during their service. I want to thank Councilor Ciulla for his tireless work in bringing this issue to the forefront.”

“We need to make the excise tax process easier for our veterans, who all too often are penalized while giving the ultimate sacrifice serving our nation,” said Ciulla. “It’s about time we protect our citizens who serve to protect us.”

DiZoglio Secures Additional Funding for Merrimack Valley Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative

Included in this year’s Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget is an amendment, sponsored by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), for $25,000 toward the Lawrence-Methuen Community Coalition (LMCC)’s recently formed Merrimack Valley Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative.

The LMCC is a resident-based coalition focused on the prevention of substance abuse, child abuse and domestic violence through the establishment of neighborhood associations and community networks.

Through a $100,000 grant awarded earlier this year by the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Health, the coalition was able to compose an opioid data report on communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence, Haverhill and Andover; a report the coalition recently released in conjunction with the official launch of its Merrimack Valley Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative, which will work to research the factors that contribute to local opioid abuse and find ways to improve and promote substance abuse education and prevention.

DiZoglio’s budget amendment will go toward resources and community outreach for the Collaborative. The funding was initially vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker but restored by the Legislature for the final FY16 Budget.

“The fight against drug addiction in our communities has been one of the issues I have been most focused on in my time as State Representative,” said DiZoglio, who serves on the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “I have had so many conversations with residents in my district and across the Merrimack Valley who have dealt with substance abuse themselves or have friends or family who struggled with drug addiction. This funding will help specifically with youth outreach, prevention and education in our community.”

“Heroin use, addiction and the death tolls are tragic and rising and more primary prevention and overdose prevention education are necessary,” said LMCC Substance Abuse Prevention Director Delilah Rivera. “Many heroin users report having first abused prescription drugs before turning to heroin. Through this additional effort provided by State Representative Diana DiZoglio, we will be able to do more outreach and provide more education to our youth and community.”

“The additional funding secured by the Legislature and Rep. DiZoglio, is a great additional resource for the area,” said LMCC Director Harold Magoon. “As we continue in developing our capacity in preventing the use of opioids and overdoses in the Merrimack Valley, these resources will allow us to expand our prevention-based programming for youth and community education and engagement.”