The Bronx cheers all around for the South Coast Massachusetts House delegation. Only Rep. Alan Silvia (D-Fall River) supported amendments to the House budget proposal that would have provided tax relief to renters and seniors and suspended the Commonwealth’s 24-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax until the end of the current economic crisis.
Rep. Tony Cabral (D-New Bedford), Rep. Paul Schmid (D-Westport), Rep. Chris Hendricks (D-New Bedford), Rep. Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett) and Rep. Carole Fiola (D-Fall River) voted against amendments to grant tax relief, even if the Commonwealth is swimming in the dough.
To his credit, Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) supports the temporary suspension of the gas tax.
Governor Charlie Baker has pushed a $700 million tax relief package, citing massive budget surpluses, a huge injection of federal COVID cash and record inflation affecting many Massachusetts residents — but the legislative leadership of Beacon Hill has refused to budge, until now.
According to the State House News Service, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue reported that “tax collections last month were more than $3 billion more than what was collected in April 2021 and more than $2 billion more. dollars more than the DOR’s own monthly benchmark”.
Not only are we swimming in batter, but you can also float the entire Six Fleet in it.
It all became an embarrassment to lawmakers who finally realized they could no longer continue to deny relief to beleaguered taxpayers. Tax relief therefore appears to be underway.
Massachusetts Senate Speaker Karen Spilka released a statement saying, “While details remain to be worked out, I believe we can safely balance targeted investments in a number of critical areas, such as housing, child care and higher education, with tax relief for individuals and families feeling the effects of inflation and continued economic disruption.”
Spilka promises to “pursue a tax relief package for residents before the end of the session”. The session traditionally ends at the end of June.