HELP CITY AND TOWN GOVERNMENTS, BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS

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HELP CITY AND TOWN GOVERNMENTS, BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS (H 4617) – The House and Senate approved and Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill designed to help cities, towns, businesses and individuals solve some of the problems created by the COVID-19.

Provisions permit a moderator of a town meeting to declare a 30-day postponement due to a public health emergency after consulting with the Select Board; permit a Select Board to vote to extend the date of an annual town meeting beyond the existing statutory cut-off of June 30; allow towns that are unable to finalize a budget before the start of the new fiscal year to continue month-to-month spending on essential operations at the same levels as the current fiscal year; and modify local permitting processes, extend municipal tax deadlines and allow municipalities to extend property tax exemptions and deferrals.

The bill would postpone the April 15 deadline for filing state income tax returns and set a new deadline of July 15. Another key section of the bill is designed to help restaurants cope with the ban on eating inside restaurants by allowing those establishments with liquor-licenses to sell beer, wine and liquor to customers 21 and older who order takeout or delivery food in the same transaction.

“Whether it’s protecting local communities’ ability to govern during a time of crisis or providing much needed relief to restaurants and taxpayers, we must do what we can to support those facing hardship during this unprecedented time,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “With the passage of this bill, the Legislature is collaboratively acting to meet this challenge and confront the urgent needs facing our commonwealth related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This legislation is the product of a strong bipartisan and collaborative process to address the needs of our residents,” said Sen. Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “Municipalities now have the tools they need to overcome current challenges, restaurants have access to a crucial source of revenue, and our tax filing deadline has been extended to provide additional flexibility to those that need it.”

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