Even Maura Healey Supports Referendum-Law Tax Rebate

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/08/03/even-maura-healey-supports-referendum-law-tax-rebate/

By Matt Murphy
MASSterList/State House News Service

Finally something all the candidates for governor can agree on.

Democrat Maura Healey and Republicans Chris Doughty and Geoff Diehl all said Tuesday that they support refunding state tax revenue in excess of a cap established in 1986, even while top Democrats on Beacon Hill continue to suggest an openness to repealing or tinkering with the law.

The announcement last week from Governor Charlie Baker that surging revenues could trigger the forgotten tax cap law from the ’80s, known as 62F, upended negotiations over tax cuts in the Massachusetts Legislature, and the House and Senate adjourned their formal sessions for the year without a deal on relief.

“Maura believes taxpayers are entitled to the 62F rebates if the law is triggered and certified by the Auditor,” campaign spokesman Karissa Hand told MASSterList. Bump said Tuesday, August 3 that determination would be made on the third Tuesday in September, which is September 20.

Hand said Healey also “urges the Legislature to return to pass targeted tax relief for Massachusetts residents and make the long term investments needed to lower the cost of living in our state.”

The statement from Healey puts the Democratic frontrunner for governor at odds with legislative leadership, particularly House Speaker Ron Mariano, who endorsed her campaign when she still faced a primary opponent.

Mariano has cast doubt on Governor Baker’s insistence that the state can afford to both refund up to $3 billion in excess tax revenue under 62F and pay for the economic development investments and $1 billion in targeted tax cuts pursued by lawmakers up until the final day of the session. Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka have also criticized the law as outdated and one that would not deliver relief to those who need it the most, though any changes or repeal would likely have to wait until next year.

Doughty held a press conference outside the State House on Tuesday where he pledged to veto any attempt by legislative Democrats to repeal the 1986 ballot law.

“Massachusetts residents have been suffering for months due to high inflation,” Doughty said in a statement. “The legislature has refused to suspend the gas tax and they have been dragging their feet on providing any form of relief. The needs of hard working taxpayers have been ignored. It appears the 1986 law and Governor Baker are the only ones trying to help.”

Doughty and running mate Kate Campanale also slammed the Legislature for procrastinating on economic development and allowing the late revelation of 62F to derail needed investments.

“A recession is looming and the legislature did not finish their work. They should come back into session and get the economic bill passed,” Campanale said.

Diehl also supports the 1986 law, but still took a shot at Doughty over the Wrentham manufacturer’s acceptance of a $2.79 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan he received during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a $277,000 economic development grant from the state in 2015.

“It is hypocritical and ironic that Chris Doughty is calling on the Legislature to give back taxpayer money based on his experience as a CEO,” Diehl said. “During his time as a CEO, Chris Doughty fleeced federal, state, and local taxpayers for more than $3 million to help run his company. If Doughty thinks that experience qualifies him for office, maybe he should run for the Legislature instead — they love to take money from taxpayers to fund their own priorities!”

Diehl’s campaign suggested Doughty might not have needed the Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Doughty campaign adviser Holly Robichaud said Doughty shut down Capstan Atlantic for a “short period of time” during the pandemic, but reopened at a diminished capacity to meet the needs of customers, including those who manufacture emergency vehicles.

“Geoff Diehl has never created one job or ever worried about meeting a payroll. His attack on Chris is an attack on all business owners who suffered during COVID including his wife’s business that also took PPP money. It should be disturbing to every voter that he doesn’t understand that PPP was awarded on actual declining payroll differences. Clearly he is not equipped to be governor,” Robichaud said.


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