Around New England

Baker Presses For Tax Cuts, Particularly For Senior Citizens

June 28, 2022

Governor Charlie Baker renewed efforts this week to get the leaders of the state legislature to incorporate tax cuts into the final state budget for Massachusetts for the coming fiscal year.

Baker called a press conference Monday primarily to talk about tax cuts for senior citizens.

In April, the governor proposedseveral tax cuts totaling $700 million, including lowering the tax burden for people 65 and older by doubling the senior circuit breaker tax credit, which allows senior citizens whose incomes are low enough to reduce their state income taxes based on the amount they pay in property taxes, either directly or through rent.

He also proposed doubling the threshold for the state’s estate tax (sometimes called the death tax), from $1 million to $2 million, and eliminating the current provision in state law that calls for taxing the full amount below the threshold, which the administration calls the “cliff effect.”

“A very small number of states actually have an estate tax in the first place. No state has an estate tax that’s as aggressive as the estate tax in Massachusetts,” Baker saidduring the press conference Monday, June 27.

The current legislative session is scheduled to end Sunday, July 31. To date, the legislature has incorporated no tax cuts into the budget.

Baker, a Republican, said Democratic leaders in the state legislature have expressed interest in tax cuts, but that he is emphasizing the point now because he doesn’t want the proposals to get lost in the shuffle.

“I think the main point here is to make clear that there is a clock that’s ticking, we all know that. July 31stis right around the corner. There is a lot of work in front of the legislature which is really important and we hope gets done. But we thought it was important to bring some of these folks who spend a lot of time worrying about a population that in many ways deserves to be heard, which are the older adults here in Massachusetts, who are for the most part on fixed incomes, and who do make up the vast majority, in many cases, of the categories that we’re looking to try to help here with these proposals. And I really do hope that they don’t get lost in the conversation between now and the end of the session,” Baker said.

The governor is also calling for doubling the dependent care credit, increasing the threshold of income at which people pay state income taxes, and lowering the short-term capital gains tax to 5 percent, from the current 12 percent.

Michael Heffernan, the state’s secretary of administration and finance, said the state government has more than enough cash to pay for needed government services, calling the state’s economy “historically strong.”


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