Spilka following different path on tax relief
Says Senate will take up tax package sometime after budget is done
GOV. MAURA HEALEY and the House rolled out their tax relief plans in tandem with their budget proposals for the coming year, but the Senate is moving in a different direction.
Senate President Karen Spilka said after a meeting on Monday with Healey and House Speaker Ron Mariano that the chamber will release its own tax relief package after it passes a budget for the coming year. She was coy about when the tax relief package would be taken up, how big it will be, and what specific types of tax relief will be included.
Last year, Spilka joined former governor Charlie Baker in pushing for a tax relief package, but that effort was derailed as Mariano and his leadership team became spooked when an obscure 1986 law was triggered requiring that $3 billion be returned to taxpayers.
This year is shaping up a bit differently. Healey crafted a tax relief package benefitting the wealthy (estate and capital gains tax cuts) as well as seniors, renters, and caregivers. The House tax plan included the five major elements of the governor’s plan plus two more, one benefitting businesses and the other increasing the state’s match of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit from 30 percent to 40 percent.
She specifically mentioned the Earned Income Tax Credit and said “we will take a look at other things like that.” She refused to endorse any of the tax cut initiatives on the table. “Nothing’s been ruled out. Nothing’s been necessarily ruled in,” she said.
The three leaders, often referred to as The Big Three on Beacon Hill, all indicated their tax relief plans would not be put off by April tax revenues, which fell well short of the target for the month.
“That is one month. We’ve always had ups and downs,” said Spilka.“We anticipated a potential downslope on the economy and that’s why we rolled in some of our tax changes over multiple years,” said Mariano. “We wanted to be prudent and we think we were.”
Healey has also said the downturn in tax revenues had been anticipated and accounted for in revenue projections. She said the state is in a very strong financial position, with its bond rate improving. She said the April tax revenues were lower than what the state took in in April 2022, but nevertheless the second-highest monthly tax haul in state history.