While Gov. Charlie Baker recently proposed a plan to grant nearly $700 million in tax relief to primarily low-income and middle-income Massachusetts residents, not everyone at the State House seems to be on board.
In a public address on January 26, Baker stated that the state’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal would include a $48.5 billion plan that will continue to support economic growth across Massachusetts, address the COVID-19 pandemic, fund the Student Opportunity Act, and invest in housing and health care.
The proposal will also create a comprehensive tax proposal to provide relief for housing and childcare costs, as well as eliminate the income tax for hundreds of thousands of low-income taxpayers, and maintain Massachusetts’ competitiveness, the press release stated. The proposed changes will allow for nearly $700 million to remain in the hands of taxpayers on an annual basis, starting immediately in tax year 2022.
“Our Fiscal Year 2023 budget will help position Massachusetts strongly for the future by making key investments to support economic growth, sustain our nation-leading educational system, and support the health and wellbeing of our residents,” Baker said.
“At the same time, we are able to grow our reserves to historic levels and offer a tax relief proposal that will provide substantial relief for low-income seniors and working families,” he added.
The tax relief plan is intended to lower the overall tax burden for senior citizens who own homes across the state, increase the rental deduction cap from $3,000 to $5,000, double the dependent care credit to $480 for one qualifying individual and $960 for two or more, increase the Massachusetts adjusted gross income threshold, double the estate tax threshold, and change the short-term capital gains tax rate to 5% which will align Massachusetts with most other state across the country.
Although Baker’s proposal has received widespread support amongst state legislators with many commending Baker for enacting relief during a much needed time, some progressives are skeptical that Baker’s proposal is not adequate enough to overcome the problems brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and only covers ongoing issues that have existed n the state for many years.