Michael P. Norton
House Speaker Ronald Mariano is sending a message about tax policy ahead of budget season on Beacon Hill.
“Right now taxes are not on the table. We have no intention of raising taxes,” Mariano told WCVB’s “On the Record” in an interview set to air Sunday at 11 a.m.
According to a partial transcript of the interview, Mariano expressed concern that the state budget was “going to be short,” and said the fate of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief and economic stimulus bill looms large.
“I’m not optimistic that tax revenues are going to match … even with some surprisingly robust returns … I’m still afraid we’re going to be a little short,” Mariano said. “But we do have to wait and see what the feds do. We are watching with a high degree of intensity what goes on in Washington.” If the $1.9 trillion package passes, Mariano said, “I think we’ll be able to be alright without having to do anything more than to reallocate our funds … and maybe put some money back into the rainy day fund.”
Gov. Charlie Baker two weeks ago proposed a $45.6 billion fiscal 2022 budget that does not include any tax increases on residents and would trim state spending by about $300 million, or 0.7 percent, while state tax revenue is expected to rise 3.5 percent over the current budget year. Baker’s budget used about $1.6 billion from the state’s rainy day fund.
Mariano, in the WCVB interview, concurred with host Ed Harding that “this is a rainy day,” suggesting he’s open to making further draws from the stabilization fund to support state programs and services. Tax collections in fiscal 2021 are exceeding projections so far. House and Senate budget chiefs Aaron Michlewitz and Michael Rodrigues are likely to release a schedule of upcoming fiscal 2022 state budget hearings soon.