Council in the News
Don’t tinker with surplus tax-rebate law
May 7, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.
Gov. Maura Healey announces a proposed tax relief package during a press conference at the Demakes Family YMCA on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023 in Lynn. (Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
It seems a fair share works when applied to imposing an extra tax on the state’s highest earners, but not when it comes to putting excess state revenue back in the pockets of those most contributing to that surplus.
That millionaires tax ballot measure, narrowly passed in last November’s general election, assessed an additional 4% levy on state incomes exceeding $1 million, beyond the 5% flat tax everyone pays.
Supporters of that amendment to the state constitution maintained those 1-percenters should pay more, simply because they earned more.
But to the Democrat-controlled House, that same logic doesn’t apply to repayments of excess income-tax collections.
The House’s $56 billion-plus spending-plan proposal for fiscal 2024 includes language that would change Chapter 62F of the General Laws, a previously obscure, rarely used provision of the tax codes, which last year unexpectedly delivered nearly $3 billion in surplus state revenue back to taxpayers.
Sprung on unsuspecting lawmakers by Gov. Charlie Baker, it returned roughly 14% of individual and joint filers’ total state income tax burden.
It seemed only right that the people who paid higher taxes should receive the largest refunds.
After all, that constitutes their fair share of the excess revenue pot.