Friday, July 8, 2022

Senator Rausch: Legislature Announces Gas Tax Relief Program



Taxpayer Energy and Economic Relief Fund to provide one-time rebates to eligible MA residents 


Today (07/07/22), the Massachusetts House and Senate announced their intention to create the Taxpayer Energy and Economic Relief Fund, an initiative to bring immediate financial relief to Bay Staters amidst rising gas prices and inflation.  


The fund will provide one-time rebates of $250 for Massachusetts taxpayers who filed an individual return in 2021, and $500 for taxpayers who filed joint returns. Eligibility will be determined by annual income reported in 2021. Individual filers who reported earning between $38,000 and $100,000 will be eligible, and the maximum reported income level increases to $150,000 for joint filers. Massachusetts taxpayers will receive this rebate before September 30, 2022. Bay Staters earning less than $38,000 received $500 checks to offset increased costs of living earlier this term. 


This type of relief program was first proposed by State Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham) as a budget amendment in the FY '23 budget debate last month. Her legislation, the People's Gas Price Relief Program, was modeled after a similar proposal in California and aimed to provide Bay Staters with a $200 rebate, covering the average value of a gas tax suspension for at least an entire year. The amendment garnered bipartisan support during budget deliberations.  
"People are hurting – struggling to keep the lights on and put food on the table – and skyrocketing gas prices aren't helping," said Senator Becca Rausch. "Massachusetts residents deserve immediate financial support through these difficult times, and I am proud and honored that my policy proposal to offset high gas prices will put money back in Bay Staters' pockets without making them wait a year or more to realize the full benefit." 


"Whether it is the rising price of gas, groceries, or summer clothes for kids, the Massachusetts Legislature has heard loud and clear that increased costs due to inflation have cut into family budgets," said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, House Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz and Senate Ways & Means Chair Michael J. Rodrigues in a statement. "These rebates represent the Legislature's commitment to delivering immediate financial relief directly to residents of the Commonwealth, rather than to large oil companies that continue to profit off economic uncertainty and international conflict, and follow our efforts to provide $500 in premium pay for lower income front-line workers during the pandemic. As we recognize the need for structural change as well, we continue to work on potential changes to the tax code with the goal of providing additional relief to residents." 

Senator Becca Rausch represents the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District, comprised of Attleboro, Franklin, Millis, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, North Attleborough, Plainville, Sherborn, Wayland, Wellesley, and Wrentham. Senator Rausch serves as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and the Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. 

CommonWealth Magazine provides coverage of this announcement from the Legislature

Boston Globe provides coverage here (subscription maybe required)

The proposal has to pass both legislative branches by July 31 and be signed by Governor Charlie Baker to take effect. CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF
The proposal has to pass both legislative branches by July 31 and be signed by Governor Charlie Baker to take effect. CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF

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