Statement from MassBudget President Marie-Frances Rivera in response to the House Ways & Means Committee’s FY 2023 Budget Proposal

For Immediate Release: April 13, 2022

“The Commonwealth’s recovery and future will only be as strong as the investments we make. Today, the House Ways and Means Committee’s (HWM) Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget proposal distinguished itself from the Governor’s by investing in forward-thinking initiatives that would help the state move beyond the COVID pandemic.

“Fortunately, the HWM FY 2023 budget proposal excludes the Governor’s costly tax breaks for the state’s wealthiest residents. Instead, HWM wisely chooses to invest in communities across the Commonwealth, including higher levels of aid for K-12 schools through the Student Opportunity Act, and funding to provide universal free school lunches. They also propose a slate of investments for young children and workers in early care and education supporting them. Their proposed $90 million in new investments could start to solve our early care challenges, even if they are short of a state commission’s call for nearly $712 million in immediate new funding.

“Compared to the Governor’s proposal, the HWM proposal significantly increases funding for rental assistance to help those most in need in our high-cost housing market. These increases are an important first step towards addressing what could be a devastating benefit cliff that the state will encounter as federal rental assistance runs out in the coming few months.

“The HWM proposal, like the Governor’s, would end the practice of charging fees to individuals convicted of crimes as part of their parole or probation. These individuals and their families often face financial struggles compounded by these fees, making successful transitions out of the system more difficult. HWM also includes $20 million for a new program making phone calls or other communications free of charge for youth or adults who are incarcerated. This initiative would help people currently incarcerated remain more connected to their families and communities.

“Disappointingly, the HWM proposal does not include language to further delay the FY 2023 implementation of a tax deduction for charitable contributions. This tax break would cost the state about $300 million each year in lost revenue and slightly more than half of the benefit would go to tax filers with income over $1 million.

“The growing challenges facing our education, housing, and transportation systems won’t fix themselves, and building upon the investments proposed by House Ways and Means requires new, sustainable state revenue. To build an equitable recovery and prosperous future, we must ask those who’ve benefited most in our state to pay their fair share. Equity includes everyone, and we must ensure that everyone in the Commonwealth has what they need to thrive.”

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Contact:
Reginauld Williams, Communications Director
rwilliams@massbudget.org

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