May 9, 2023 - Politics

Mass. Senate may push for more progressive tax cuts

Photo illustration of Senate President Karen Spilka with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The fate of tax breaks for Massachusetts' richest is in the hands of Beacon Hill's most liberal legislative body.

What’s happening: Lawmakers are trying to figure out how much tax relief state coffers can absorb after last month's revenue intake fell far short of expectations.

State of play: Gov. Healey and the House prefer tax breaks across the income spectrum. That includes lowering taxes on lucrative investments and estates to keep the richest residents from moving.

Yes, but: The Senate, which skews further left than the House or Healey on fiscal issues, could force a package that prioritizes tax breaks for lower- and middle-income residents over richer ones.

  • The liberal Senate Democratic caucus might end up derailing negotiations altogether if they can't compromise with House moderates.
  • Senate President Karen Spilka indicated yesterday her caucus will analyze the faltering revenue situation and take their time developing their own tax plan.

What they're saying: After meeting Monday with Healey and House Speaker Ronald Mariano, Spilka repeatedly called for tax breaks that would be "progressive, permanent, smart and sustainable."

  • Asked by Axios if that meant a smaller tax package than the $750 million to $1.1 billion plans Healey and Mariano want, Spilka indicated she'd prefer more breaks for poorer taxpayers.

Between the lines: Spilka also called for taxes to be “competitive,” using the buzzword Healey and other moderates have used when calling for lower estate and big-time investment taxes.

What's next: Spilka said the Senate would take up its version of tax relief after passing a budget this spring, but didn’t give a specific time frame.


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