By Bob Katzen
The Senate 40-0, approved a $4.57 billion economic development and tax relief package.
The bill provides $500 million one-time tax rebates to an estimated 2 million eligible people. A $250 rebate would go, by September 30, to individual taxpayers and a $500 rebate to married taxpayers. Eligibility will be determined by annual income reported in 2021, with the minimum income required to be $38,000, and the maximum $100,000 for individual filers and $150,000 for joint filers.
Beginning in 2023, several permanent tax reductions would take effect including increasing the Child and Dependent Care Credit from $180 per child to $310 per child, as well as eliminating the current cap of $360 for two or more children; increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit from 30 percent to 40 percent of the federal credit; increasing the senior circuit breaker tax credit cap from $1,170 to $2,340; increasing the rental deduction cap from $3,000 to $4,000; and increasing the estate tax threshold from $1 million to $2 million.
Other provisions include $195 million for nursing facilities and rest homes; $80 million for Community Health Centers; $22.5 million to reduce gun violence; $17.5 million for reproductive and family planning services; $150 million for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust; $100 million to promote and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles; $150 million to support the production of workforce housing; and $150 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
The package also would allow restaurants to offer “happy hour” discounts on alcoholic beverages if a town approves this policy via local option; allow state candidates for public office to use campaign funds for expenses related to child care services; allow some tenants who have been evicted to seal the records of their eviction case; ensure students can obtain academic transcripts for the courses they have completed and paid for, rather than having their entire transcript withheld for outstanding fees; and expand the ability of homeowners to add accessory dwelling units to their property.
“Massachusetts has so much to offer as an innovation hub and education leader in our country, but it’s getting harder and harder to live and work here,” said Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), Senate Chair of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “Housing prices are skyrocketing, childcare costs are out of control, inflation is climbing, businesses everywhere are coping with supply-chain issues, and families know that their dollar is not going as far as it did only a few months ago. Today, we passed our economic development bonding bill and tax relief package to bring much-needed financial relief to residents here in Massachusetts. This legislation prioritizes housing, climate resiliency, childcare access, workforce development, downtown revitalization, and the worker of the future. As policymakers, we must be prepared to meet the moment ahead of us and ensure that our commonwealth continues to be a great place to work and live.”
“These crucial changes to our tax code will create much needed targeted relief to families across the commonwealth grappling with how to make ends meet,” said Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield), Senate chair of the Committee on Revenue. “As prices rise, we need to continue to invest in the people who need it most, including those who make our economy run.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)
Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes