BOSTON — State Senator Jason Lewis joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate on June 15 in unanimously passing a $590 million tax relief bill that will help make living in Massachusetts more affordable for working families and seniors and bolster our state’s economic competitiveness. Senator Lewis has been a leader in the effort to ensure that tax relief is focused on low- and middle-income residents, and does not include unnecessary giveaways to wealthy households and large, profitable corporations.
“I was very pleased to join my Senate colleagues in support of this bipartisan legislation that will provide some badly-needed assistance for Massachusetts households with high housing costs, high child care costs, and other living expenses,” said Senator Lewis. “I’m proud that the Senate bill is fiscally responsible and does not include wasteful and unnecessary tax cuts being championed by some business groups that would only further exacerbate income and wealth inequality in our state and do nothing to foster greater economic growth and opportunity.”
Some of the key provisions included in this bill are:
- Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), one of the most effective anti-poverty programs, from 30% to 40% of the federal credit
- Increases the Child and Dependent Tax Credit from $180 to $310 per child/dependent and eliminates the current cap that limits the credit to a maximum of two children/dependents
- Increases the cap on the rental deduction from $3,000 to $4,000
- Doubles the maximum senior circuit breaker tax credit, which helps elderly residents who struggle with high housing costs, from $1,200 to $2,400
- Reforms the estate tax by lifting the exempt threshold from $1 million to $2 million and eliminating the current cliff effect
- Encourages housing development by increasing the statewide cap for the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) from $10 million to $30 million annually, and by increasing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) from $40 million to $60 million annually
During the floor debate, the Senate also adopted an amendment offered by Senator Lewis that will help prevent tax avoidance by very wealthy households that are subject to the new Fair Share Amendment approved by Massachusetts voters last November. The amendment requires that a married couple who files their tax return jointly at the federal level must also file their state tax return jointly.
A six-member Conference Committee will now be appointed to reconcile the differences between the tax relief bills passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, before the final bill is sent to Governor Maura Healey for her signature.