BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday announced an economic relief plan that will create a fund to provide one-time rebates of up to $500 for income eligible taxpayers.
“Whether it is the rising price of gas, groceries, or summer clothes for kids, the Massachusetts Legislature has heard loud and clear that increased costs due to inflation have cut into family budgets. That is why we are proud to announce that the Massachusetts Legislature will act to establish the Taxpayer Energy and Economic Relief Fund, through which economic relief rebates for individuals and families will be issued,” Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, House Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and Senate Ways & Means Chair Michael J. Rodrigues said in a joint statement.
One-time rebates of $250 for a taxpayer who files an individual return, and $500 for married taxpayers who file joint returns, will be issued to eligible residents before Sept. 30, 2022, according to lawmakers.
Eligibility will be determined by annual income reported in 2021, with the minimum being $38,000, and the maximum being $100,000 for individual filers and $150,000 for joint filers.
Governor Charlie Baker’s administration said the governor believes tax cuts, not rebates are what’s needed.
“Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito filed a $700 million tax relief plan in January to give the people of Massachusetts a break from rising costs but more importantly, the governor’s plan makes these tax cuts permanent,” said Anisha Chakrabarti, Baker’s Deputy Communications Director. “Cutting these taxes is the only way to deliver a real break to the seniors, renters, low-income workers, and parents who more than deserve it. The Administration will carefully review any tax relief proposal the Legislature sends to the Governor’s desk.”
Lawmakers added, “These rebates represent the Legislature’s commitment to delivering immediate financial relief directly to residents of the Commonwealth, rather than to large oil companies that continue to profit off economic uncertainty and international conflict, and follow our efforts to provide $500 in premium pay for lower income front-line workers during the pandemic.”
Last week, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation projected the Legislature will have a $3.6 billion surplus on hand once final accounting of FY22, the State House News Service reported.
Steps are also being taken to make changes to the state’s tax code with the goal of providing additional relief to residents.
“Our goal was always to put money in the pockets of the folks who are feeling the pinch every day,” said House Speaker Ron Marino
Reactions from taxpayers across the state were mixed following Thursday’s announcement.
“It’s a complete gimmick to help politicians before an election,” said Paul Craney, spokesperson with the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “The proper thing they should have done is do broad tax relief to middle class Massachusetts.”
Craney points out that the state doesn’t account for dependents in deciding who gets a check.
“On paper you could be a middle class family, on paper your salary may show it’s pretty modest, but in reality you have a bunch of kids,” added Craney.
The House and the Senate are working to get a bill on the Governor’s desk to sign before the session ends on July 31st to approve the one-time payments.
Political leaders told Boston 25 News that the $510 million dollar package would affect over two million Massachusetts residents.
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