Businesses urge lawmakers to reject tax-raising proposal

blackboard tax increase_399302

blackboard with the word tax on it and an upwards arrow showing a increase concept

BOSTON (SHNS) – With a vote to advance a surtax on household income over $1 million on tap for Wednesday, one of the organizations that was key to keeping the proposal off the 2018 ballot shared an open letter sent to lawmakers Monday urging them to reject tax increases and instead focus on getting people back to work.

More than 150 Massachusetts companies representing about 15,645 workers have signed onto the open letter, which was circulated Monday morning with contact information for officials at the Partnership for Massachusetts’ Future and the Massachusetts High Technology Council, which was a lead plaintiff when the Supreme Judicial Court in 2018 ruled the surtax plan could not go to voters.

“There are currently before the legislature numerous statutory and even constitutional proposals to raise taxes and fees on Massachusetts businesses. We believe that the legislature must move in a different direction and refocus its attention on creating the premises for an economic recovery that will support robust job creation for the Bay State’s working men and women,” the letter reads.

On Wednesday, the House and Senate will meet in a joint session with the intention of voting to advance the 4 percent income surtax for voters to decide on the 2022 statewide ballot. Though outdated, supporters say the surtax on household income over $1 million could raise about $2 billion in revenue for the state annually.

The vote to raise taxes on some people and businesses that are taxed through the owners’ individual returns would come as the Legislature and governor play tug-of-war over control of about $5.3 billion in federal relief money and with the state on pace to emerge from the pandemic-plagued fiscal 2021 having collected more tax revenue than state officials projected in January 2020.

“Many surprises await us in 2021 and 2022. Listening intently to the Biden administration’s announcements, we expect significant changes in regulations and tax policy for both individuals and businesses. With all these changes, what we need most to get people back to work is stability and predictability, including stable state tax policies,” the businesses wrote in the open letter. “The influx of federal money from COVID relief legislation can help avoid the potentially devastating impacts of state tax increases on Massachusetts’ already fragile economy.”

Among the businesses that signed onto the letter are Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, Anderson Framing & Remodeling, 1A Auto Inc., Cape Cod Lumber Company, Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, Nashoba Valley Medical Center, Northeast Tool Supply, and Acropolis Advisors.

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