Governor Baker Pitches Tax Cut Proposal In-Person

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Making his pitch directly to lawmakers Tuesday on his nearly $700 million tax relief package, Gov. Charlie Baker said his proposal aims to keep more money in the pockets of parents, low-income workers and seniors and help keep Massachusetts competitive with other states in an era of remote work.

Baker and his budget chief, Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan, appeared before the Revenue Committee in a newly reopened-to-the-public State House, speaking in-person to six committee members while other lawmakers and testifiers joined via video call.

"Not only can we afford this tax proposal, we believe it's time to give Massachusetts families back some of the tax revenue that they created through their hard work," Baker said.

Read More: Massachusetts State House Reopens Tuesday After Two-Year Closure

Baker's bill (H 4381), which he unveiled last month alongside his $48.5 billion fiscal 2023 budget, includes changes to how the state handles estate and short-term capital gains taxes, and would increase tax credits for seniors and child care as well as the deduction for rent payments. It would also raise the income level at which Massachusetts residents are required to file taxes.

The Republican governor said the measures are "not partisan ideas," noting that Democratic lawmakers have also filed bills relating to the rental deduction and senior tax credit.

Sen. Adam Hinds, who co-chairs the committee with Sen. Mark Cusack, said the Revenue Committee had "deliberately extended" its time to consider various estate tax proposals as lawmakers weigh factors like whether a change would be revenue-neutral for the state.

Baker's suggestion to lower the tax rates on short-term capital gains from 12 percent to 5 percent ran into pushback from Hinds, who said it would benefit wealthy families at a time when "Wall Street is going through the roof" but food bank lines are long. Hinds also questioned Baker's proposal for the dependent care tax credit, saying it "doesn't really strike me as significant or relief."

Written by Katie Lannan, SHNS

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