Charlie Baker Staying Optimistic On Tax Relief

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By Chris Lisinski
State House News Service

Governor Charlie Baker is holding out hope that top Democrats will reach agreement on some form of their shelved tax relief and spending bill, even though the August decrescendo represents what he called “a tough time.”

Baker said Monday, August 15 that talks continue to take place about next steps for economic development after the House and Senate failed to find compromise on the bills (H.5034/S.3030) by the time they wrapped up their last formal session of the term the morning of Monday, August 1.

The Republican added that his administration was “very pleased” by the House and Senate’s roughly $4 billion proposals, which both featured about $1 billion in combined one-time tax rebates and permanent tax relief.

“We think it’s important especially for those populations who would benefit from it, most of which are hard-working, low-income populations who could absolutely, positively use the relief for all kinds of reasons,” Baker said. “You know, August is a tough time with respect to the Legislature. They just finished their session on the 31st of July. But there is ongoing conversation between them and us about the tax pieces and about some of the other elements of the eco dev bill that have a certain amount of what I would call urgency.”

News that Massachusetts is poised to trigger a voter-enacted 1986 tax revenue cap law known as Chapter 62F, which the Baker administration estimates would require close to $3 billion to be returned to taxpayers, paralyzed the Legislature’s work on the economic development bill. Legislative leaders have not been able to get on the same page since formal sessions ended, with Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) saying last week the House rejected her proposals for action.

Most lawmakers depart for vacations or turn their attention to re-election campaigns in August, when both branches shift to meeting only about twice every week in lightly attended informal sessions where a single objection can stall any bill.

Asked if he is confident about the outlook for the tax relief and economic development measures, Baker paused for about five seconds and replied, “You never know, but I’m confident, I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to figure something out.”


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