Jul 13, 2022 - News

Liberals worried about estate tax changes in Mass. tax breaks

Illustration of the Massachusetts State House with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The House of Representatives will likely pass its $523 million tax break package Wednesday afternoon, despite pushback from some liberal lawmakers upset over the rewrite of the state's estate tax.

  • The Democrats' new plan would have the estate tax kick in at $2 million, up from the current $1 million.
  • It would also eliminate the current "cliff effect," whereby the graduated estate tax applies to the total value, and not just the portion above the $2 million mark.

Why it matters: Without any significant liberal resistance, the bill is set to sail to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk once the Senate passes a similar version.

  • The package means tax savings for residents at every tax bracket, with richer families particularly benefitting because of these changes to how wealth is passed between generations.

Context: Supporters argue that changes to the estate tax are necessary to stop middle-class and rich families from moving to lower-tax states, and to protect property owners with estates just over $1 million in value.

  • Yes, but: Marie-Frances Rivera of the left-leaning Mass. Budget and Policy Center told Axios that these changes would disproportionately benefit the rich and exacerbate the racial wealth gap.
  • Progressives like Reps. Erika Uyterhoeven, Maria Robinson and Natalie Higgins have authored or signed on to amendments to the bill that would make the estate tax changes less beneficial to the richest families.

What they're saying: "Personally, I find this disappointing. While I recognize the need for some moderate update to the estate tax, it's hard to justify 40% of the package going to the largest estates," Cambridge Rep. Mike Connolly, perhaps the most liberal member of the House, tweeted Tuesday after House Democrats were briefed on the plan.

  • Connolly told Axios that he likes the parts of the bill that support working people, and that he is still in talks with leaders and members about today's vote.

Details: The bill the House plans to pass today would also increase tax credits for families with children from $180 to $310 per child and eliminate the two-child cap.

  • Tax credits for renters and senior homeowners will increase by about $1,000.
  • Low-income workers with families will receive an increased credit.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more