Apr 12, 2023 - Politics

Massachusetts House Democrats back across-the-board tax breaks

Photo illustration of House Speaker Ron Mariano with lines emanating from him.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Six weeks after Gov. Maura Healey proposed tax breaks for all income earners in Massachusetts, House leaders are offering a similar plan.

Driving the news: Like Healey's plan, House Speaker Ron Mariano's $654 million in tax breaks would benefit seniors, families and renters while slashing rates for the richest residents to attract businesses to the state.

Under the House plan, the tax on investment earnings would drop from 12% to 5%.

  • Estates would need to be worth $2 million, not $1 million, before the estate tax kicks in. Healey had pitched a $3 million threshold.

What they're saying: "We want to attract investment. We want to attract folks that want to be here and are comfortable with the way we tax," Mariano told reporters after rolling out the plan.

  • "This whole competitiveness issue is real, as we face challenges from states like North Carolina" and Ohio, Mariano added.

The intrigue: Mariano's House plan would change the voter-approved 1986 law that requires rebates for taxpayers when the state's revenue coffers overflow, like they did last year.

  • Instead of rebates relative to the total amount paid in taxes, Mariano would give back equal rebates to all taxpayers, meaning millionaires and low-wage workers would receive the same amount.

Flashback: The automatic rebate law caught Democrats off guard last year and torpedoed a previous plan to offer specific tax relief in Massachusetts.

Between the lines: With its veto-proof Democratic majorities, the Legislature can essentially treat Healey's proposal as a starting point and dictate tax policy to the governor.

  • If the House settles on a final bill with the Senate, that's what will become reality — not Healey's plan.

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