Migrant Crisis Factors Into Maura Healey’s Proposed Tax Increases, MassGOP Chairman Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/02/28/migrant-crisis-factors-into-maura-healeys-proposed-tax-increases-massgop-chairman-says/

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey’s proposal to give municipalities the opportunity to raise certain taxes is driven at least in part by the current migrant crisis, the leader of the Massachusetts Republican Party said.

A NewBostonPost reporter asked MassGOP chairman Amy Carnevale if she thinks the fiscal impact migrants are having on the state is why Healey wants the tax increases.

“Good question,” Carnevale said Wednesday, February 21 during a radio appearance on WATD’s The JV Team with Jared Valanzola. “Certainly, she will say it’s not, but money is fungible and if had a billion less outgoing in our budget, it’s hard to see that these 9C and these other taxes would be necessary.”

Last month, Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll recently announced a tax hike plan they call the Municipal Empowerment Act.

Here are the highlights of the tax increase bill, according to a press release from Healey’s office:


  • Increasing the maximum local option lodging tax on hotel, motel and other rentals from 6 percent to 7 percent of the price of a room (6.5 percent to 7.5 percent for Boston) 
  • Increasing the maximum local option meals tax from .75 percent to 1 percent of the sales price of a meal at a restaurant or local store 
  • Adding a new 5 percent local option Motor Vehicle Excise surcharge, a fee charged by every city and town on vehicles registered in their communities based on the vehicle’s value 


Healey’s office estimates that this package could result in up to $155 million per year in increased tax revenue.

Healey, a Democrat, proposed these tax increases after, earlier in January, she enacted $375 million in emergency budget cuts, including money that would have gone to municipalities (including more than 30 fire departments).

State Representative David DeCoste (R-Norwell) criticized the administration for prioritizing non-citizens at the time the cuts were made.

“In Norwell and Rockland, earmarked funds for elder services were cut by 50%. Funding for Hanson’s youth cardiac screenings was cut by 50% as well; we are funding noncitizens at the expense of citizens.  This is bad public policy,” DeCoste said in a written statement, according to State House News Service. “We need a solution to the migrant crisis and that will put a check on this unsustainable program. If the Healey Administration continues unchecked, they will cause serious damage to our budget and inevitably drain our rainy day fund that we’ve worked so hard to build.”

Those cuts came after the governor approved an extra $250 million for the state’s shelter system to house migrants from all over the world, including in hotels.

The state approved that increase because Massachusetts’s right-to-shelter law lacks a residency requirement. Therefore, anyone from around the world, including illegal immigrants, can use it. Governor Healey’s administration projected that emergency shelter costs will reach $1 billion this fiscal year, far more than the $325 million the state legislature initially budgeted for it, according to MASSterList.

Healey’s office could not be reached for comment on Monday or Tuesday. 


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