What They Are Saying: Reactions to Failed Tax Relief on Beacon Hill

“Fiasco,” “Nobody was Mindful”

WINCHESTER – In less than 24 hours since the Legislature concluded its session, critics haven’t held back in surveying the damage that Democrats have done to tax relief for constituents during record inflation. And according to one Democratic official with knowledge of the process, “I assumed they knew what they were doing, but that turns out to be a false assumption.”

Boston Globe Editorial Board on House Leader Mariano’s promise to be “fiscally prudent” by hitting pause on tax relief: “Spoken like a guy who’s used to dealing in billions of dollars, not a constituent waiting for that promised $250 check to put toward the next car payment. With the state’s rainy day fund hitting a record $6.6 billion last month (before the fiscal year ended), and probably more on the way, what could possibly be ‘prudent’ about a delay that could last months.

“This time it wasn’t just the clock that ran out on tax relief, it was the unwillingness of legislative leaders to do the right thing on taxes — and to do it in a timely fashion.” (more)

Massterlist’s Jon Keller: “Incredibly, the Legislature’s top financial experts claimed to be blindsided. House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz confessed ignorance; so did Senate budget chief Michael J. Rodrigues, who claimed the executive branch had only just told them about it.

“Baker administration sources say that’s b.s., that the likelihood of Barbara Anderson’s Revenge coming due was discussed with legislative leaders and staff during budget talks earlier this summer. All anyone had to do was surf on over to the state auditor’s website and note that the state fell $2.1 billion short of triggering the rebates last fiscal year, and since then has pocketed $4 billion in federal ARPA funds alone, along with billions in unexpected conventional revenue.

“Hello? Concludes one disgusted Democratic official with knowledge of the process: ‘Nobody in either branch was mindful of it. I assumed they knew what they were doing, but that turns out to be a false assumption.'” (more)

Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center Senior Analyst and Advocacy Director Phineas Baxandall: “The Legislature’s relief was much less tilted toward high-income earners than [62F] will be.

“A perverse feature of 62F is that it spools back our slightly progressive income tax relief attempt — instead of giving one-time rebate checks that would be worth a lot more to middle- and lower- earners, it ties it to earnings. It is taking steps backward in terms of progressivity.” (more)

Pioneer Institute’s Charles Chieppo placed the blame squarely on lawmakers, saying the 1980s law “wouldn’t have wreaked havoc one week before the session ended if they knew what the laws were.” (more)

“The people want and need tax refund checks now. I urge the revenue commissioner and state auditor to move heaven and earth to certify the amount owed to the taxpayers and not wait until the last possible minute. My campaign is already lining up the 24 taxpayers needed to go to court to enforce this provision of state law should it be regrettably necessary,” said Anthony Amore, candidate for Massachusetts State Auditor.

Background:

  • Under MGL Chapter 62F, Section 7, allows 24 Massachusetts taxpayers to appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court to enforce tax rebates under the law. (Massachusetts General Law)

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