In case you missed it, today marks the first day of debate on the House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.
As you may have heard, the House of Representatives recently unveiled their $36.2 billion state budget proposal. While the Democratic-majority set an unfortunate tone to this year’s budget debate by refusing to consider amendments relative to local aid, education spending, and welfare reform, the House Republican Caucus will not be deterred.
During this year’s budget debate, the House Republican’s firmly believe that the Legislature must make considerable strides in delivering a budget that is mindful of the economic times, while producing a spending plan that delivers an accountable and transparent state government which reflects the taxpayers’ priorities, and seeks to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.
Today’s debate will first focus on amendments relative to revenue. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.
Amendment 10 - 2014 Sales Tax Holiday (D'Emilia, Angelo) ADDS a new outside section establishing a 2014 sales tax holiday for the weekend of August 9th and 10th.
Amendment 31 - Inventory Tax Commission (Frost, Paul) ADDS a new outside section establishing an 11-member commission to study the levying of the inventory tax in Massachusetts. Minority appointments included.
Amendment 41 - Tax Credit for Hiring Individuals Collecting Unemployment Benefits (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section offering a tax credit to businesses for up to $500 per each newly hired employee who had been previously collecting benefits from the unemployment benefit system.
Amendment 43 - Municipal Gas Tax Exemption (D'Emilia, Angelo) ADDS a new outside section exempting municipalities from paying the gasoline tax on gas purchased for municipal purposes.
Amendment 47 - Tax Credit for Small Businesses (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section offering a tax credit to businesses of 50 employees or fewer, of up to $500 for each new full time employee who is hired above the minimum wage.
Amendment 48 - Tax Credit Effectiveness Study (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section requiring a biennial report to be submitted to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and published online detailing the usage of certain corporate income tax credits (e.g., investment credit; state low-income housing credit; research expense credit; economic development incentive credit; environmental response actions credit; historic rehabilitation tax credit; qualifying property credit for life sciences companies; life sciences research expense credit; and the motion picture credit). Included in the FY14
Amendment 49 - Tax Credit for the Manufacturing Industry (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section offering a tax credit to businesses in the manufacturing industry of up to $500 per each newly hired full time employee.
Amendment 56 - Tax Amnesty (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section establishing a broad-scope tax amnesty program for delinquent taxpayers to pay any and all overdue tax liabilities. A maximum of $20M of the proceeds from the program is directed toward opioid overdose prevention and education, including a universal naloxone (Narcan©) purchase system to offer municipalities the overdose medicine at a discounted rate.
Amendment 62 - Quarterly Corporate Tax Payments (D'Emilia, Angelo) ADDS a new outside section equalizing payments of quarterly corporate tax payments at 25% per quarter, instead of the current schedule requiring the payment of 65% of taxes within the first two quarters of the tax year.
Amendment 129 - An Amendment to Abolish the Death Tax (Fattman, Ryan) ADDS a new outside section eliminating the M.G.L. chapter establishing the Massachusetts Estate Tax.
Amendment 194 - An Act relative to reducing the sales tax to 5% (Lombardo, Marc) ADDS a new outside section reducing the Massachusetts state sales tax rate from 6.25% to 5%.
Amendment 195 - An Act relative to reducing the income tax to 5% (Lombardo, Marc) ADDS a new outside section reducing the state income tax to 5%, effective January 1, 2015.
Amendment 196 - An act to exempt municipalities from gas tax (Lombardo, Marc) ADDS a new outside section exempting municipalities from paying the gasoline excise tax for gas used for municipal purposes.
Amendment 474 - Municipal Debt Reduction (Dooley, Shawn) ADDS a new outside section authorizing 10% of revenue received over benchmark to be returned to cities and towns on a per capita basis for municipal debt service reduction.
Amendment 490 - Meals Tax Holiday (Dooley, Shawn) ADDS a new outside section establishing a meals tax holiday for the days of August 10th through August 14th.
Amendment 502 - School Safety and Security Amendment (Lombardo, Marc) ADDS new outside sections permitting police officers of a municipality to volunteer in the schools of the community in exchange for a tax deduction up to $8K.
Amendment 575 - Gas Tax Display (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section directing retailer of motor fuel to public display the current taxes levied on the purchase of gasoline, instead of the current practice of showing the price already including the tax.
Amendment 588 - An Amendment to Establish a Medical Device Tax Credit Commission
(Kuros, Kevin) ADDS a new outside section establishing a special commission to study the feasibility of offering a tax credit for medical device manufacturing companies negatively impacted by the tax increases in the Affordable Care Act, with a report due by December 31, 2014.
Amendment 594 - An Amendment relative to rolling back the income tax (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section reducing the income tax to 5%.
Amendment 596 - An Amendment relative to rolling back the sales tax (Lyons, James) ADDS an outside section reducing the sales tax from 6.25% to 5%.
Amendment 690 - Exempting Cities and Towns from Gas Tax Increases (Diehl, Geoff) ADDS a new outside section exempting cities and towns from gas tax increases.
Amendment 695 - Exempting farms/small businesses from Inheritance Tax (Diehl, Geoff) ADDS a new outside section exempting farms and small businesses from the Inheritance Tax.
Amendment 708 - Providing for a Tax Amnesty Program (Diehl, Geoff) ADDS several outside sections establishing a tax amnesty program for FY14 for virtually all types of taxation, except municipal. Imposes a $500 fine on those who fail to take advantage of the amnesty program. Creates the Municipal Police Support Trust Fund to finance municipal police training, and the Commonwealth Public Assistance Technology Innovation Trust Fund to finance technology dedicated to public assistance oversight. Each fund will receive one-third of tax amnesty proceeds, up to $10M. The balance of the proceeds will be deposited into the General Fund.
Amendment 710 - Relative to Marine Vessels (Diehl, Geoff) ADDS new outside sections making various changes to the laws regulating the excise taxation of boats, ships, and marine vessels. Reduces the rate from $10 per $1K valuation to $5 per $1K valuation; changes the valuation schedule to no longer include the length of the vessel in the maximum calculation.
Amendment 750 - Relative to exempting farmers' markets from certain property taxes (Poirier, Elizabeth) ADDS a new outside section exempting farmers' markets from the property tax.
Amendment 788 – Senior Property Tax Relief Study (Harrington, Sheila) ADDS a new outside section creating a special commission to study the feasibility of property tax relief for seniors.
Amendment 949 - Providing an exemption to the corporate minimum tax for small businesses
under 25 employees (Durant, Peter) ADDS a new outside section providing an exemption to the $456 corporate minimum tax for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees within the first three years of incorporation.
Amendment 959 - Bundled Cell Phone Taxation (Barrows, Jay) ADDS a new outside section requiring that sales tax for cellular phones be levied upon the actual price paid by the consumer, instead of the current practice of levying the tax on the higher manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).
Amendment 991 - Civil Process (Peterson, George) ADDS a new outside section requiring constables and process servers to periodically pay 25% of all fees collected for service of civil process to the General Fund. Constables and process servers would be required to annually, by
April 15, file and sign under the penalties of perjury with the Department of Revenue an account of all fees and money received through the service of process.
Amendment1006 - Excluding MA National Guards' Pensions from MA taxes (Durant, Peter) ADDS a new outside section exempting National Guard retirement income from Massachusetts state income taxes.
Amendment 1039 - Meals Tax Holiday (Orrall, Keiko) ADDS a new outside section establishing a meals tax holiday for July 27th through July 31st.
Amendment 1117 - Home Health Care and Hospice Tax Deductions (Frost, Paul) ADDS a new outside section providing taxpayers who pay for direct home health services from a licensed home care provider with an annual tax deduction of $5K.
Amendment 1123 - An Amendment Encouraging Business Growth (Kuros, Kevin) ADDS a new outside section reducing the filing fee for a certificate of organization for businesses from $500 to $125.
Amendment 1139 - Title 5 Income Tax Credit Reform (Howitt, Steven) ADDS a new outside section increasing the maximum income tax credit allowed for the repair or replacement of a septic system from $15K to $25K; increasing the annual tax credit allowances from $1.5K to $4K, and the aggregate from $6K to $10K.