BOSTON (SHNS) – So far only Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed a fiscal year 2023 state budget, but at least one senator expects that the spending plans rolled out by the House and Senate over the next two months will make changes to the state’s tax laws.
Speaking at the AARP Massachusetts virtual lobby day Tuesday, Sen. Jason Lewis said he was optimistic that a tax credit to support unpaid family caregiver s could become a reality this session and alluded to the possibility of it being included in the fiscal 2023 budget, which is due to be finalized by the end of June. “I think we will be taking up some tax policy in the state budget this year.
The governor has made some proposals, I know the House and Senate are very interested, and I’m certainly going to be pushing hard for this proposal to be part of any tax package that we include in the FY 23 budget,” Lewis, the assistant vice chair for the budget-writing Senate Ways and Means Committee, said. On the heels of a massive surplus last year and better-than-expected tax collections so far this budget year, Baker proposed a nearly $700 million tax relief package aimed at helping parents, low-income workers and seniors.
Legislative leaders punted the deadline for a decision about the governor’s $700 million proposal until May 4, after a House budget debate where tax policies could be in play, but leaders in both branches have indicated interest in approving some kind of tax relief this session.
The topic took on fresh significance in the face of rising gas prices and inflation. Senate President Karen Spilka said last month she was “talking with the members to find out where they’re at with relief alternatives and ideas,” suggesting that some type of relief could be included in the climate bill the Senate is expected to take up this month. House Speaker Ron Mariano said he’s had talks about reforming the state’s estate tax and pairing it with “something else that would benefit renters.”
Baker’s office pointed to Mariano’s comments as a sign that the governor’s tax cuts could become law and Baker himself said in February that the fact that a legislative committee engaged with the details of his plan was a “really positive sign that we’ll be doing something for tax policy for the people of Massachusetts this session.”