By Bob Katzen
The House 138-18, approved a consolidated amendment adding $101 million to the cost of the $1 billion-plus information technology bond. Members filed 189 amendments to the bill, but none were voted on individually. Two amendments were withdrawn by their sponsors and the other 187 were rolled into this one big consolidated amendment.
Amendment supporters said the projects and provisions in the amendment were important items. They noted there is nothing wrong with these local earmarks where members propose including in the bill worthwhile projects in their districts.
Amendment opponents said many of the earmarks are not urgently needed. They
pointed to the state’s projected revenue loss of up to $8 billion in next year’s budget as a result of diminishing income tax revenues during COVID-19 when the Bay State moved the tax return filing deadline from April 15 to July 15 in addition to the loss of sales tax and other revenue as a result of business shutdowns. They noted that state tax collections dropped in April by more than $2.3 billion compared to April 2019.