The fiscal year ended at the end of June and the final numbers are in. The result: Beacon Hill lawmakers are rolling around in piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck.
The Department of Revenue revealed the final tally for tax collections for FY21 totaled $5.047 billion above the state's benchmark predictions and over 15 percent more than the previous year. That’s a large sum of taxpayer money that is currently unallocated, on top of roughly $5 billion in federal ARPA money the legislature is currently figuring out what to do with. That’s a total of $10 billion dollars, or over 20% of the state’s total budget!
Back in June, when it was first forecast that we might be collecting more taxes than predicted, Governor Baker pushed for a two-month long sales tax holiday as a way to immediately get a small portion of this taxpayer surplus back into the pockets of where it came from. He also tried to enact implementation of a decades old ballot question that would create a charitable giving tax deduction that almost 70% of MA voters approved. The legislature has refused to implement the will of the voters on the issue for 20 years. Unfortunately, the greedy legislators on Beacon Hill decided to flout the will of the people yet again and shot the Governor’s proposal down before they broke for their summer vacation.
By law, some of the surplus money is required to be put in the state’s Rainy-Day Fund, as well as the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund and the Pension Liability Fund. Obviously, the right thing to do now would be for the legislature to use the surplus in ways that would most benefit taxpayers. However, if they didn’t even entertain an elongated sales tax holiday, we wouldn’t hold our breath. How do you think they will spend the money? A black hole of bureaucrat salaries and crony payouts disguised as being “for the children,” or “for the environment,” is a good guess.
As for the federal ARPA funds, legislators have decided to hold hearings on how best to use this money, with an allocation deadline of 2024. Although this sounds judicious and diplomatic, they are buying themselves time to spend it on their pet projects. While they dither, there are obvious and immediate needs that fit the intention of how these federal dollars should be spent.
Small businesses suffered immensely as mandated closures left them with no option but to lay off employees, and in some cases, employees asking to be let go in order to make more money with augmented unemployment checks. Governor Baker classified many of these businesses as “non-essential” and told them to shut their doors or else. Now those same small businesses, the ones who were able to survive, are on the hook for paying for the unemployment influx to the tune of $7 billion through the depleted unemployment trust fund. Over 30 states have already designated ARPA money to fill the unemployment fund hole left by the massive government mandated shutdowns over the past year. For the next 20 years, this debt will act like a $7 billion tax hike for these businesses to pay off. It’s unfair and morally irresponsible.
Gluttony is a bad look. It’s time these woke State House leaders woke up and started thinking about the taxpayers they represent. They argue that there’s not enough money during an economic downturn, an economic upswing, and even now when they have more than they know what to do with, and they continue to push for more.
Please email your lawmakers to tell them to use some of the taxpayer money to help small businesses by clicking here: