The House is expected to begin debate on amendments to the state budget today. First up, are amendments that deal with revenue, aka tax hikes or new taxes.
MassFiscal was pleased to see the Governor’s tax hike proposal to the real estate excise tax (Stamp Tax) was not included in the budget and not included as an amendment idea, but we were disappointed to learn that Representative Jones (R-Reading), the Republican House Minority Leader, proposed to reinstate two tax increases that were included in the Governor’s original budget, but were left out of the House Way and Means version.
If Leader Jones’ amendments were passed into law, they would add a 15% tax to prescription pain medications that contains opioids and add the cigarette tax to vaping products. While there are legitimate concerns regarding the abuse of these products, many use them the way they were intended and these taxes would have a negative impact on those people. MassFiscal feels strongly that Republicans should not be proposing tax increases in a Democratic legislature. If the concern is about the illegal abuse of these products, state leaders should focus their energy toward public education, not tax increases.
With over 1,000 amendments filed, we will keep you updated on what happens today.