Category: Reginauld Williams

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Massachusetts and New Jersey See Push for Illegal Alien COVID-19 Stimulus

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimates the bill would cost $58 million, to provide payments to an estimated 57,000 ITIN filers and their dependents. This estimate may be low because FAIR's 2017 cost study estimated that there were more than 236,000 illegal aliens in Massachusetts. This burden on Massachusetts taxpayers would be in addition to the nearly $2.0 billion that illegal immigration already costs them.

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Ground Shifting Beneath Senate Revenue Group

The virtual meeting began Thursday with presentations from Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Marie-Frances Rivera and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Eileen McAnneny, each of whom detailed the forecasts they provided earlier this week at a hearing designed to help state budget managers chart a path through the end of fiscal 2020 and into the uncertainties of fiscal year 2021. Rivera said she thinks eliminating the reintroduction of that deduction is "the lowest-hanging fruit" and that because the deduction does not already exist, she does not think people will be any less inclined to make charitable donations.

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Ground Shifting Beneath Senate Revenue Group

The virtual meeting began Thursday with presentations from Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Marie-Frances Rivera and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Eileen McAnneny, each of whom detailed the forecasts they provided earlier this week at a hearing designed to help state budget managers chart a path through the end of fiscal year 2020 and into the uncertainties of fiscal year 2021. Rivera said she thinks eliminating the reintroduction of that deduction is “the lowest-hanging fruit” and that because the deduction does not already exist, she does not think people will be any less inclined to make charitable donations.

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Virus leaves economists uncertain about its final toll

https://www.lowellsun.com/2020/04/15/virus-leaves-economists-uncertain-about-its-final-toll/ Lowell Sun

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Mount Greylock Subcommittee Discusses Bus Contract Adjustment During Prolonged Closure

“The required local contribution is basically a measure of how much local tax revenue a city or town can reasonably raise and dedicate to the operation of its schools,” according to the website of the non-profit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. It is related to the foundation budget, which “is designed to represent the total cost of providing an adequate education for all students.”

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STATEHOUSE ROUNDUP: Life, liberty and the pursuit of ventilators

The tea leaves, when they can read them, will likely present a bleak picture – the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's testimony contemplates a scenario where fiscal 2021 tax collections land $5 billion short of the estimates agreed to in January.

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STATEHOUSE ROUNDUP: Life, liberty and the pursuit of ventilators

The tea leaves, when they can read them, will likely present a bleak picture – the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's testimony contemplates a scenario where fiscal 2021 tax collections land $5 billion short of the estimates agreed to in January.

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“Sobering” Estimates Mean Budgeting With Billions Less

Despite the forecasts, or perhaps because of them, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Marie-Frances Rivera told lawmakers and the administration it was “not the time to switch to austerity mode.” She urged them to close tax loopholes, use the state’s $3.5 billion “rainy day” fund and tap federal aid to preserve spending on critical human services.

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Massachusetts Lawmakers Warn Of Possible Depression

Marie-Frances Rivera, president of MassBudget, said her think tank is estimating state tax collections could fall $5.0 billion to $5.7 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The analysis is based on the two prior recessions, in which state tax collections were 16.1 percent and 13.8 percent below projections.

“These are large numbers. And while I stress again that we are not saying this pattern necessarily will occur again now, we are noting that such declines are by no means out of the question,” Rivera said in prepared testimony. “Such sharp and persistent declines in tax collections have occurred in each of the last two recessions and very well could again.”

Rivera also noted estimates that nearly 500,000 Massachusetts workers will be laid off or furloughed by July. That equates to a 14 percent drop in employment in just five months. By comparison, during the worst five-month stretch of the Great Recession, employment declined by 78,000, or 2.4 percent.

“This is not a drill. This is a stormy time,” Rivera said. “We are in an unprecedented moment – a public health crisis that has catapulted us into an economic crisis.”

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Coronavirus leaves economists uncertain: 8 takes on COVID-19’s final toll on Massachusetts

The state will need to tap into its rainy day fund and should also reconsider some tax breaks and work to ensure it receives as much federal relief money as possible, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Marie-Frances Rivera said.

The economic ramifications of the pandemic have left many people out of work and struggling to afford housing and other basic needs, Rivera said. She said the state must make sure it continues to fund key services and that systems people rely on — like transit, education and unemployment insurance — remain operational.

"Now is not the time to switch into austerity mode, so we have to utilize all the tools that we have in our toolbox," Rivera said.

If patterns from past recessions hold, Rivera said, fiscal 2020 tax collections would fall somewhere between $4.2 billion and $4.9 billion below fiscal 2019 collections, and, with limited growth, collections in fiscal 2021 could land between $5 billion and $5.7 billion shy of the estimates budget writers agreed to in January.

Rivera said state officials should identify ways to limit near-term tax losses “so we can invest in people now and into the future.” MassBudget’s written testimony said the “best, first option” for doing so would be “to delay, down-size or eliminate several of the largest and most wasteful tax breaks and tax loopholes in our state tax code.”

Specific tax policies Rivera flagged for reconsideration included the film tax credit, the “single sales factor tax break,” and a not-yet-implemented new state charitable deduction.

She thanked budget writers for building up the state’s rainy day fund in recent years. “Our recommendation would be — it’s pouring,” Rivera said. “We need to use it to make sure we have vital services covered. These dollars must be accessed.”

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