On High Housing Costs, Maura Healey Treats Crumbs As A Serious Solution 

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/10/10/on-high-housing-costs-maura-healey-treats-crumbs-as-a-serious-solution/

It’s hard to believe that a troll didn’t write a tweet that appeared on the Twitter account of the governor of Massachusetts recently. 

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey touted a recent tax package she signed into law for helping renters who can’t afford to make a down payment on a home — after signing a tax package into law that gives Bay State renters crumbs.

“Parents giving up shifts to save on child care,” Healey recently tweeted along with a video of her signing the tax cut package into law. “Recent grads looking for jobs in other states. Renters who can’t save for a down payment. Seniors struggling to stay in lifelong homes. We’re cutting taxes for them — for everyone feeling the squeeze of high costs.”

If you trust Governor Healey or haven’t read up on the tax bill, you might think she did some great favor to renters, addressing the high cost of rent and homes in Massachusetts.

But you’d be wrong.

The tax package increased the rental deduction in Massachusetts from $3,000 per year to $4,000 per year. No, that’s not a $1,000 rental tax credit. That means renters can show the state $1,000 less income than they make so they don’t pay taxes on that $1,000. However, income earned under $1 million in Massachusetts is taxed at a flat 5 percent rate — and 5 percent of $1,000 is $50.

That’s right:  Healey is touting saving renters a whopping $50 a year as some serious form of relief for renters; that’s $4.25 per month. You can’t even buy a Big Mac for $4.25 these days; that will typically run you $4.87 in Massachusetts, according to CNBC

Mentioning down payments in the context of a $50-per-year tax break is insane. The median home price in Massachusetts is $554,205, according to Rocket Mortgage. Say you want to buy a starter home that costs even $250,000 — something that is hard to find in the Boston metro area; you would likely need to put 20 percent down to make that down payment. The good news:  if you rent for 1,000 years, that extra $50 per year will get you the $50,000 you need to make a down payment on a starter home. So if you want to wait it out until 3023, Healey will provide you with the help you need to buy a home. 

Let’s say you’re passing for the moment on the 1,000-year mortgage.  This “tax break” does little for renters in the midst of sky-high rents. The average rent in Boston increased from $3,113 per month to $3,405 from December 2021 to December 2022, according to Forbes — an increase of nearly $300 per month, or nearly $3,600 per year. So that extra $4.25 per month will help such people immensely. 

If this is Healey’s idea of helping renters afford the Bay State’s high cost of living, a lot of people are in trouble.

It’s a good reminder that the government is not interested or capable of solving many problems ordinary Americans face. 


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