BOSTON (SHNS) – As tax reforms spring back into the conversation on Beacon Hill, a coalition of 30 organizations pitched its priorities that leaders said would buoy low- and moderate-income families.
The Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition’s platform includes increasing the earned income tax credit (EITC) from 30 percent to 50 percent of the federal credit, and following the Healey administration’s plan to combine two existing dependent tax credits into a single child and family benefit of at least $600 per dependent.
“This year, Massachusetts has the opportunity to lead the nation in promoting equitable tax policies that invest in the wellbeing of families and the health of our communities,” said Allison Bovell-Ammon of Children’s Health Watch.
The coalition held a “relaunch” event at the State House at the same hour that Speaker Ronald Mariano was announcing to business leaders at a hotel across town that a comprehensive House tax relief plan would “soon” emerge. Supporters emphasized the timeliness of their push, which also came a couple days after the Revenue Committee heard testimony on Gov. Maura Healey’s tax relief proposal and less than a month ahead of the House budget debate.
Sen. Jamie Eldridge noted that lawmakers “came very close to expanding the EITC last year” in an economic development bill; the House tax package in 2022 would have upped EITC to 40 percent of the federal credit. Legislative leaders wound up swiping tax relief off the table in late-session talks.
Eldridge said that “the only slightly positive thing from us not doing the reform last year” was that it gave supporters time to fine-tune their bills. The Acton Democrat updated his EITC bill to include expanded eligibility for immigrants without social security numbers who file with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers.
Lauding the coalition’s plan as a “holistic approach to try to combat poverty,” Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett said “there’s not one person I can think of that doesn’t support this.” But “support” doesn’t equate to enactment, he added. “So when you talk to your friends in this building, ask them if they’re going to talk to Ways and Means,” DiDomenico said. “Are they going to talk to the chair of the committee? Are they going to make this a priority if it comes up in the budget? Are they going to vote for this on the floor? And don’t just leave that as an open-ended question. Ask them, when are you going to do this?”
The coalition describes itself as led by Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center, with member organizations including the Mass. Budget and Policy Center, Jewish Vocational Services, EMPath, the Mass. Association of Community Development Corporations, and Boston Children’s Hospital.