The Massachusetts Senate passed its version of a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2022, but rejected several amendments seeking to provide tax relief to Commonwealth residents. The House did the same when passing its own version of a budget in April.
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has long called for tax relief and the two Republicans seeking to replace him in this fall’s election have gone so far as to call for a 24-cent-per-gallon gas tax freeze. until prices at the gas pump become a little more manageable for consumers.
Democrats, who control both branches of the Massachusetts legislature, have been reluctant to consider any sort of tax relief yet. Senate Speaker Karen Spilka has promised tax relief once the budget is approved, but it’s unclear if there are enough votes to get the job done.
The Senate vote to overturn the tax cut amendments failed on a 10-30 vote, with seven Democrats siding with their Republican counterparts.
The first senator for the district of Plymouth and Bristol, March Pacheco of Taunton, joined fellow Republicans in backing tax relief. Bristol and Plymouth Second District Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford and Bristol and Plymouth First District Senator Michael Rodriques of Westport did not.
After the vote, Rodriques, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, suggested that the Senate might present its own tax relief proposals at some point. What form that might take is anyone’s guess at this point.
For the moment, there are no specific proposals for tax relief before the legislature, and time is running out quickly on the current session.