Massachusetts gubernatorial debate: Geoff Diehl and Maura Healey spar over raising taxes, exorbitant energy costs

The final Massachusetts gubernatorial debate between Republican candidate Geoff Diehl and Democrat Maura Healey on Thursday night saw the two candidates sparring over taxation and how best to deal with the energy crisis.

Healey, who is currently the state’s attorney general, said “cutting taxes” would be a priority under her administration, but later dodged a question about whether she would commit to not raising taxes.

Conversely, Diehl, a Donald Trump-endorsed former state lawmaker, repeatedly said he would not “preempt to ever raise taxes” and opposed a proposal to increase taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers.

“We are overtaxing people,” he added.

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When asked directly about not raising taxes, Healey said she would not “commit to any particular promises.”

“The economic health and well-being of this state is the absolute priority and responsibility of the governor,” the Democrat said.

Immediately following Healey’s refusal to renege on the tax pledge, Diehl’s campaign pushed the point home to his supporters.

In an email to his supporters, the Republican added: “There’s only one thing you need to know about tonight’s debate in the race for governor – Maura Healey REFUSED to promise voters she won’t raise taxes.”

“It’s a big warning sign to voters,” he added. “In fact, Maura Healey is already working hard to raise taxes by supporting Issue 1. There is no question that Geoff Diehl is the best choice to be our next governor because he is the ONLY candidate who will make Massachusetts more affordable .”

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Massachusetts Republican Geoff Diehl, left, speaks with Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, right, before their televised debate for governor, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, at the NBC10 Boston television studios in Needham, Mass.

Massachusetts Republican Geoff Diehl, left, speaks with Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, right, before their televised debate for governor, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, at the NBC10 Boston television studios in Needham, Mass.
(AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

At the debate, the two gubernatorial candidates also discussed the ongoing energy crisis and rising energy prices in the state. Diehl pointed to Healey’s record of blocking plans for two gas pipelines and tried to blame her dwindling energy supplies for rising costs in what is expected to be an expensive winter.

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Healey maintains a significant lead over Diehl in national polling, though it has dropped five points over the past three months.

The final televised debate was hosted by WCVB Channel 5 in association with the Boston Globe, WBUR and Univision.

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