BOSTON — With just a handful of hours left to strike deals and pass them, a House leader said Sunday night that “the whole budget picture” was being reviewed as as talks continue around a massive economic development and tax reform bill that has been complicated by the realization that current legislation could result in nearly $3 billion in tax relief this year.
The reappearance in recent days of Chapter 62F, a 1986 law that hasn’t been triggered since 1987 but is poised to return an estimated $3 billion to taxpayers, weighs heavily on talks on the tax bill. economic development as negotiators re-evaluate the Legislative Assembly’s spending decisions in this over $4 billion bill and the decision to include $500 million in one-time tax refunds and $500 million in cuts permanent taxes.
“I think we have to understand that we have to figure out if we want to take that risk now,” Rep. Alice Peisch, chair of the House Education Committee, told the press office Sunday night.
“There are things we can do later if things get better,” Peisch said. “I’m not sure of the answer but I know that since this happened it’s really thrown a real wrench in the works and what I’m hearing is that it’s all on the table. He doesn’t It’s not just about negotiating the final pieces of certain bills with the Senate, it suddenly has to look at the whole budgetary situation because these bills were put together without having the slightest idea that this was looming in the future. ‘horizon.
The Chapter 62F tax relief would come from the state’s excess tax revenue for fiscal year 2022 and the Economic Development Bill was already in line to tap that same source for some of its expenses, income from the fiscal year 2023, borrowing or funding from the American Rescue Plan Act representing most of the support in this bill.
“That’s the question I think people are grappling with, do we have enough money? Is there enough money to finance the budget, the economic development plan and this unknown amount in September? said Peisch. “And then for me, and I think for a lot of my colleagues, the second question is and what does that mean for the next fiscal year, when we may be, if we’re not already, in the middle of a recession, we could see a significant drop in income.
Governor Charlie Baker, whose administration is already considering how it could make Chapter 62F tax relief a reality for taxpayers, said he believes the 62F relief required by law and plan Legislature tax bill of about $1 billion was “eminently affordable”. given that state tax revenues have increased by 15% and 20% respectively over the past two years.
Peisch said inflation is also a concern for the state government.
“It seems like spending all this money right now with all these other costs that I know we have – we have to – I’m not as confident as we do, we have enough money to do all of this , ” she says. “And maybe, you know, maybe by the end of the evening, we’ll have information that will lead us to believe that we can do it, but I’m skeptical.”
She said the changing picture makes her “a bit nervous” about fully funding the K-12 Student Opportunities Act in the coming years and continuing investments in the early education that she says will “require significant dollars over the next few years, I would. to imagine.”
Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues is leading negotiations for the Senate on the massive bill on economic development, sports betting and cannabis industry reforms.
“There are a lot of people working very hard on a lot of issues. The communication is open, constant and robust and I am confident,” Rodrigues told a group of reporters who followed him from the Senate chamber to his office. “It’s my 14th end of session and it’s like all the others.”
Rodrigues wouldn’t divulge details on the progress of those talks, except to say “everything is fine.”
Asked about a rumor that circulated at the Statehouse on Sunday that the conference committee on economic development may not reach an agreement in part because of the delicate 62F issue, Rodrigues neither confirmed nor denied it.
“It would be disappointing,” he said before adding, “If I had a penny for every rumor I heard in this building, I’d be a millionaire.”