BOSTON (State House News Service) — In two weeks, legislative budget managers and Gov. Maura Healey's new administration and finance secretary will huddle with economists and budget analysts to try to pin down an agreement on a state tax revenue estimate for the budget year that starts July 1.
The Jan. 24 session will be the first consensus revenue hearing for Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew Gorzkowicz, who must strike an agreement with House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz and presumed Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues by Jan. 31. The hearing will begin at 11 a.m. in a State House hearing room and will be livestreamed on the Legislature's website.
Not only will the hearing with outside analysts serve as a starting point for the fiscal year 2024 budgets that the governor, House and Senate will produce this winter and spring, but it is also expected to inform House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Gov. Maura Healey's thoughts on permanent tax reform and relief.
"We've got to see what consensus revenue is," the governor said Monday when asked about tax relief in the new legislative session. "We're taking all of this in, we've all articulated priorities around the relief we want to provide to residents and to folks and entities across the state, and we're just going to try to do so."
State officials have significantly underestimated tax collections in each of the last two budget cycles, leading to huge budget surpluses and effectively preventing substantial debate around how to allocate the state's flood of cash between additional spending and relief for taxpayers.
With the announcement of a fiscal year 2024 estimate, the Healey administration could also revise the fiscal year 2023 tax estimate of $39.618 billion. If the fiscal year 2023 revenue estimate remains at $39.618 billion, it would represent a drop of almost 4 percent from the $41.105 billion that was hauled in during fiscal year 2022, a year in which state tax revenue surged so high compared to wage growth that it triggered a long-forgotten tax relief law.
Halfway through fiscal 2023, Massachusetts has collected $1.087 billion or 6.5 percent more than the year-to-date benchmark that is based on that $39.618 billion estimate.
Written by Colin Young/SHNS.