MA House Passes Balanced FY21 Budget with Targeted Investments

Two weeks ago, I joined my colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing a Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget that invests in programs and services across the Commonwealth.

I'm grateful to the leadership, experience, and steady hand of Speaker DeLeo, House Ways and Means Chair Michlewitz, and Vice-Chair Garlick. Their engagement in understanding and meeting the necessities of our constituents during this extraordinary time enabled us to triage basic needs by expanding services to protect the hungry, the homeless, and those hurt by illness or economic hardship. The House FY21 budget prioritizes relief to vulnerable populations and includes provisions to boost economic recovery and support for students.

Funded at $46 billion, the House budget aims to address the sweeping effects of the global pandemic by making targeted investments in housing, food security, substance use addiction services, and domestic violence, sexual assault treatment, and prevention programs. The budget also invests in programs that provide COVID-related supports for students and increases funding for developmental services.

I heard from many of you who were not happy about my "no" vote on Representative Connolly's amendment #675, Raising the Tax Rate on Unearned Income. You rightfully believe in raising equitable revenue and decreasing the disproportionate tax burdens on low-income and middle-class families. So do I.

But Amendment #675 didn’t just tax billionaires. It didn’t just tax millionaires. It contained no progressive exemptions based on income unless you were over 65. I know a lot of people younger than 65 who lost their job and cannot afford a tax hike right now. It wasn’t well vetted. Doing tax policy on the fly doesn’t work.

Please consider some state tax policy context. According to MA Budget and Policy Center's March 2019 report, Income Tax Cuts Cost Massachusetts Over $4 Billion Annually, and Benefits Go Mostly to Highest Incomes,the large tax cuts enacted in Massachusetts during the last several decades -- affecting both state and local tax collections -- have significantly reduced our ability to invest in our communities.

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