Source: State House News Service
Author: Colin A. Young
The governor on Wednesday will file a supplemental budget to close the books on fiscal year 2022, make another $200 million available to the MBTA and still leave the Legislature with $1.5 billion of the year’s surplus to potentially put towards tax relief efforts.
In the announcement of the supp budget, Gov. Charlie Baker’s office also said that the Department of Revenue on Wednesday had informed Auditor Suzanne Bump that it believes that $2.941 billion is required to be returned to taxpayers under Chapter 62F, the 1986 voter law that requires excess state tax collections be refunded. If the auditor certifies that amount by her Sept. 20 deadline, Baker’s office said the state will still have a fiscal year 2022 surplus of $2.3 billion — up from the administration estimate of $1.9 billion earlier this month.
“With tax revenues coming in far above budgeted amounts this year, the Commonwealth is well-positioned to deliver relief to taxpayers, while still making investments in key areas, like transportation, as we close the fiscal year,” Baker said. “Our administration is confident that with these high surplus revenues, there remains more than enough funding to support the tax relief, economic development and climate infrastructure proposals that are under consideration in the Legislature.”
The governor’s office said that the closeout supp budget would not spend down the entire fiscal 2022 surplus but leaves $1.5 billion “which in combination with $2.2 billion remaining in American Rescue Plan Act Funds, is sufficient to support the tax relief measures and other critical investments in the FORWARD/economic development bill pending with the Legislature.”
The supp budget that Baker plans to file will include $1.622 billion in spending (at a net cost to the state of $840 million) and will include $200 million to help the T address the Federal Transit Administration’s safety directives and $10 million for the agency to establish a training academy. The almost $40 million school safety plan that Baker announced last week will also be included, as will $108 million for a COVID-19 cost reserve account and an outside section mandating the appointment of a guardian ad litem in every Juvenile Court proceeding in which a child is alleged to have been abused or neglected.
The Legislature will need to act on Baker’s budget bill during informal sessions, when opposition from any single member can slow a bill down or stop its progress entirely.