Lawmakers’ constituents face rapidly rising inflation, and economic worries have

Lawmakers’ constituents face rapidly rising inflation, and economic worries have

Massachusetts lawmakers were racing toward a chaotic close to their formal legislative session on Sunday, with potentially billions in taxpayer relief on the line and a heap of high-stakes policy initiatives still unfinished, including ones legalizing sports betting, reshaping gun license standards, and expanding access to mental health services. Despite giving itself 19 months to complete formal business, the Legislature was slogging through its final day with negotiators still locked in closed-door talks over some of its most sweeping bills. That also involved answering questions of how to handle a late-session curveball that could require the state to send $3 billion back to taxpayers. Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement last week that the state’s record-setting revenues are poised to trigger a nearly 40-year-old tax cap law upended negotiations over a separate $1 billion tax relief proposal that lawmakers spent months developing and were aiming to finalize before the end of the weekend. It also ratcheted up what was already expected to be a frenzied night of lawmaking, when the Democrat-dominated Legislature faces a midnight deadline — but is also likely to brush past it in a bid to push major bills over the finish line. The 1986 voter-passed law at issue seeks to limit state tax revenue growth to the growth of total wages and salaries in the state. Should revenue exceed that “allowable” amount, taxpayers are then due a credit equal to the excess amount. The Baker administration said last week that the state is poised to trigger it […]

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