Changing the Voter Law Makes It an Uphill Battle
When it comes to the 1986 voter tax bill that scuttled the House and Legislature at a critical moment last weekend, it would reverse much of the state’s economic development spending and could return as much as $3 billion in tax dollars to taxpayers, Democrats on Beacon said. The mountain has knives – or hammers – out.
“This 1986 Reaganomics ‘tax break’ is messing up tax relief and tax reform forever. DYK some members of the state legislature weren’t alive back then? SLEDGEHAMMER by Peter Gabriel was the #1 song 37 years ago tonight,” Rep. Topsfield Jamie Belsito tweeted on the part of the marathon that stretched for about 24 hours in large part because of the late-breaking recognition of Chapter 62F. “Now let’s destroy this 1986 law.”
Reaching the top of the House leadership chart, public comments on 62F have sometimes run counter to the law and leaders have openly floated the possibility of changing or altering what voters enacted 36 years ago.
“This is a paradox created by a law that was created in 1986 that gives people access to income,” House Speaker Ron Mariano said Friday on Bloomberg BayState Business hours after announcing that Title 62F would likely require more direct tax relief than how the Legislature prepared to give money, “Everything is on the table.” We can change the law, we can change it, we can delay it. “
Changing or repealing Chapter 62F before the start of the 2022 fiscal year may not be possible — the opposition of one representative or the senate could derail any legislation as the sessions expire and Gov. Charlie Baker has made it clear he’s ready to do so. 62F tax relief is valid.
And even changing the law late could also raise political questions for Beacon Hill Democrats, who are facing elections this fall, if they hope to stay in office.
“Was it voted in by the voters? That’s a big question of wisdom,” Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven of Somerville said Monday morning when asked about the possibility of changing or repealing Title 62F. “Also, which people who voted are still alive? I didn’t do the math there.”
Indeed, over 1.5 million Massachusetts voters to be burdened In the 1986 ballot question, 863,130 (about 55 percent) of them were in favor of establishing an interest rate and credit system for excess government funds to be returned to taxpayers.
People who would have voted in this question are at least 54 years old in 2022, and Massachusetts has about 2,113,910 people who are 55 or older, According to US Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
Any effort to amend Chapter 62F will face headwinds from the Corner Office, no matter who is chosen to replace Baker in January. Legislators were not shy to wait for what they can do with their Democrat colleague in office next year, with confidence in Maura Healey’s chance to be elected this fall, but the attorney general is not on board with changing Title 62F.
“Maura believes that taxpayers are entitled to a 62F refund if the law is introduced and confirmed by the Auditor,” said Healey’s press secretary, Karissa Hand. Asked if Healey would support any efforts to repeal or replace Chapter 62F as governor, Hand replied, “No, he won’t.”
Republican presidential candidate Chris Doughty said “more money should go back to hard-working taxpayers and it will be better in this difficult time.”
If elected governor, Doughty said he is “committed to respecting the interests of the people.”
“They voted for this and it should be respected,” he said.
Republican campaigner Geoff Diehl did not respond to News Service questions about whether he would support or oppose efforts to repeal or replace Chapter 62F, but his campaign told MASSterList he supports the 1986 voter law.
As time ran out and their weekend negotiations failed to find a way to advance their tax plan in line with 62F, Beacon Hill Democrats seemed to accept their fate and conceded that there was nothing they could do to stop the bill. voters established in the 1980s since kicking.
“We have 62F. That’s the law of the land and it’s going to happen,” Mariano said after sunrise on Monday.