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Tax package tops fall agenda, Massachusetts Govern Healey says



Maura Healey Michelle Wu (Sam Doran SHNS)

By Sam Drysdale

QUINCY, MASS., SEPT. 14, 2023…..Gov. Maura Healey said Thursday that she is “absolutely” pushing legislators to complete a tax relief package that was promised over a year ago in the two months remaining in the formal lawmaking season of 2023.

Asked what is on her agenda to complete before formal legislative sessions end in November, the governor replied, “The tax package.”

“Our job is not done until that tax package is done,” Healey said.

In a statement, House Speaker Ron Mariano hinted that differences over business-friendly tax cuts may be holding up the negotiations between the House and Senate.

Mariano was not made available to speak with the News Service at an unrelated event in Quincy on Thursday, but his office replied to a question on the hold up of the tax package, which has been in conference committee negotiations since June.

“While the conferees continue to work through the differences between the House and Senate tax proposals, the House remains committed to providing the Commonwealth’s residents and businesses with meaningful financial relief, a balance that is a central focus of the House’s plan,” the statement said.

The House included tax cuts that are popular with the business community in its version of a package that would cost the state $654 million next year and eventually rise to a $1.1 billion impact on state coffers.

Representatives’ version would reduce the short-term capital gains tax rate from 12 percent to 5 percent, and create a single sales factor apportionment, a measure backed by the business community that would calculate taxes based only on the portion of a corporation’s sales that occur in the state. Business leaders say these policies would help make Massachusetts more competitive in a time when people and companies are said to be leaving the state.

The Senate did not include the business-friendly tax cuts, and were lauded by progressive groups who said the short-term capital gains and single sales factor apportionment reforms would be tantamount to handouts to the rich.

The Senate’s smaller $586 million package includes some similarities to the House’s package — increasing the rent cap deduction from $3,000 to $4,000, doubling the senior circuit breaker tax credit cap and increasing Earned Income Tax Credits to 40 percent of the federal credit.

But another major hurdle likely being discussed in negotiations is the size of the increase of the child and dependent tax credit.

The House is seeking to raise the credit from $180 to $310 per dependent this fiscal year, and bump it up each year until it reaches $614 by fiscal 2027. The Senate’s proposal would increase the credit to $310 per child with no future incremental increases.

The gap between the two chambers’ plans just for the dependent tax credit swells to $322 million by fiscal 2027.

The Senate also sought to implement an array of smaller reforms — increasing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit annual authorization from $40 million to $60 million, extending the brownfields tax credit until 2028, increasing Title V septic credits and dairy tax credits, and doubling lead paint abatement credits and the statewide cap on apprenticeship tax credits. Representatives didn’t include any of these smaller reform policies in their plan.

Negotiators will also have to fit their compromise package into the $581 million hole left in the fiscal year 2024 budget to cover the expected impact of cuts.



  1. ByeByeBloodRight

    September 17, 2023 at 5:41 pm

    Not anymore, the illegal alien emergency is now the #1 priority.

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