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State charitable deduction, UI Trust Fund proposal will not benefit those most in need

 Statement regarding the Fiscal Year 2021 Supplemental Budget released Wed. August 18, 2021  “While Governor Baker’s FY 2021 close-out budget attempts to give tax filers and struggling businesses a boost, these poorly targeted efforts will not benefit those who most need the help. At a time of steep inequality, his proposal for a state charitable deduction would amount to a $300 million per year tax break mostly for those who make more than $1 million annually. If the state wants to help low- and moderate-income tax filers, it could increase the state’s EITC or offer this charitable deduction only to people who haven’t ...
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Envisioning Equity: Federal Relief Funds for K-12 Schools in Massachusetts

Interested in learning what American Rescue Plan Act funds mean for the Commonwealth's K-12 public schools? Watch the full briefing and Q&A discussing how these federal programs can support our schools through the pandemic and into recovery.
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FY 2022 Recap: A Mixed Budget Season for the Commonwealth

It’s been a mixed budget season for Massachusetts in terms of state tax policy, unless the Legislature chooses to override the Governor’s veto. With the FY 22 Budget process almost at a close, it appears the final budget is likely to make our upside down and inadequate tax system worse in a number of important ways. Legislative overrides of several of the Governor’s vetoes, however, can correct some of these problems, while preserving hundreds of millions of dollars in progressive state revenue. Notably, the FY 22 Budget, however, also includes a set of changes that will provide modest though meaningful ...
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Using State Fiscal Recovery Funds: Sustainable, Equitable, and Community-Driven Planning

The passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the availability of significant new federal revenue gives Massachusetts a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create building blocks for antiracist investments in the Commonwealth’s future. ARPA is sending billions of dollars to Massachusetts. About $23 billion is going straight to Massachusetts residents or businesses, in the form of expanded unemployment insurance, “stimulus checks”, the expanded child tax credit, subsidies for health insurance, and more. Of the remaining $17 billion, only a portion is up for grabs. Most of this money goes to specific grants, so how it can be used is already ...
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Towards the Other Side: Past the Pandemic and Beyond to an Equitable Recovery

Massachusetts children and families are beginning to look forward to the other side of the health and economic crises of 2020. But moving beyond the events of this past year will not mean that we leave the impacts behind. For many, the year of disruption and loss will leave its mark, especially for children of color who have been hardest hit as the pandemic and economic disruption exposed and made worse long-standing racial and economic inequities. Fortunately, newly-available, one-time federal funds will help begin to repair the damage created by the pandemic, especially if they are well-targeted to the communities ...
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Senate budget debate added millions for local projects and a few controversial proposals, but took no bold measures

If the Commonwealth is going to start building towards a bold economic recovery from the pandemic, the Legislature must ensure that the process is transparent and rooted in the perspectives of our impacted communities across the state. The Legislature will not achieve equity by refusing to live up to the moral charge of the state’s budget. In order to plan — and fund — an equitable recovery for our schools, our transportation systems, and communities hit hardest by the pandemic, the Conference Committee must choose bold, progressive solutions to build towards that reality. Overall, like the House, the Senate chose ...
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SWM budget gives boost to low-income caregivers, does not seize opportunity for bold investments

The Senate Ways and Means (SWM) Committee’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 contains some bright spots but does not seize the opportunity — given better-than-expected revenues — to buoy the Massachusetts economy and communities still grappling with the effects of COVID. The SWM proposal is similar to the House Ways and Means (HWM) and House proposals, particularly in headline-grabbing areas like public school funding. It is not unusual for State House leaders to agree beforehand on some of the most potentially controversial items, like funding for K-12 schools, ahead of the debate. Last week, Senators filed amendments to ...
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Relief Is on the Way: Part II—On and Off

A lot of money has already come to Massachusetts from federal COVID relief legislation, and more is on the way. Will policymakers decide to spend this money where it is most needed? Will this be an opportunity to invest in the Black, brown, and low-income communities hardest hit and still affected by the pandemic? Who will have a say in that? Will those same people in the communities hardest hit have a voice? The state has already received more than $70 billion from five federal COVID relief bills. Over $20 billion more is now coming thanks to a sixth bill, ...
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MassBudget Statement on the Senate Ways and Means (SWM) Committee’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Proposal

  “The FY 2022 Senate Committee proposal makes progress toward equity but does not seize the opportunity to make bold strides given our better-than-expected revenue collections and incoming federal funds. The proposal to make the state’s child and dependent tax deduction refundable is a major step in the right direction for tens of thousands of families. Our low-income parents and caretakers — some of whom cannot currently benefit from the current dependent deduction — could get some much-needed support. The Committee budget falls short in a few ways: This proposal for K-12 school funding, like the House, is about $90 ...
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House FY22 budget a boon for private investors, Hollywood producers

The Massachusetts House of Representatives’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget proposal offers and maintains regressive tax breaks that benefit private investors and Hollywood producers while holding off on many people-centered policy changes. Last week, House lawmakers made amendments to the House Ways and Means (HWM) budget proposal that did not meet the moment. Amendments are not only an opportunity for lawmakers to add funding for community projects, but also to make changes to the budget bill. Amendments that were offered to better support people struggling in the pandemic — like boosting rental voucher funding, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, ...
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HWM budget for FY22 does not reflect ongoing crisis

The House Ways and Means (HWM) budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) goes further than the Governor’s proposal in many ways — such as public school funding — but does not reflect the level of need communities are continuing to face because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state budget is a powerful tool to create equitable communities. After decades of underfunding, the state now has an opportunity to use billions of federal dollars to help pull us out of the pandemic and build towards a racially and economically just recovery. Below are two key takeaways from the HWM ...
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HWM FY 2022 Budget Proposal Lacks Bold Investments to Build Racial and Economic Equity in the Commonwealth

Statement by Marie-Frances Rivera, President of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), on the House Ways and Means Committee’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Proposal Massachusetts remains in the midst of a health and economic crisis that the House Ways and Means (HWM) budget proposal does not fully address. The HWM Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget lacks a vision for how the Commonwealth plans to make sustainable investments over time after billions in COVID-19 federal relief runs out. The pandemic and recession have laid bare the inequalities that exist in our state, and this budget is not doing nearly enough ...
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Relief Is on the Way: Part I—State and Local Funding from the American Rescue Plan

May 24th, 2021 Update: Since the initial publication of this brief, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has provided updated funding totals. The passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the availability of significant new federal revenue gives Massachusetts a once-in-a-generation opportunity. With thoughtful choices, these dollars can be the sturdy building blocks for an antiracist state budget committed to equity for every resident in every community in Massachusetts. Using this federal revenue as a foundation, Massachusetts policymakers can build supports so our communities emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recession healthier, stronger, and thriving. The $1.9 trillion ARP ...
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Bringing in the Relief: The Census Counts for Equity (updated)

As far as most of us are concerned, the 2020 Census has been over for months. There have been far more important concerns over this past year to occupy our thoughts: a devastating pandemic that has hit our communities of color particularly hard1; a recession2 and widespread unemployment upending the lives of hundres of thousand of households in the the Commonwealth;3 a reckoning on racial injustice;4 and the storming of our nation’s Capitol by a violent mob.5 Yet there is a connection between these events and the 2020 Census. Because the Census is ultimately about equity, power, and money. Five ...
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Where’s the Relief? The Distribution of Federal Funding in Massachusetts

As difficult as this past year has been, it would have been worse without the more than $70 billion in federal relief to Massachusetts so far from just the first five of the COVID-19 federal relief bills. About $39 billion in federal dollars goes directly to individuals and businesses, through stimulus checks and programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. About $3 billion goes to regional transportation authorities and Head Start providers. And about $29 billion is expected for programs operated through the state’s executive agencies. But how does this money get distributed? Since March 2020, Congress has passed six major ...
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