The Massachusetts Department of Revenue released their numbers, which was required by September 1, which will be used to determine the full credit amount to be returned to Massachusetts taxpayers through Chapter 62F.
The amount is approximately $2.9 billion dollars. The next forward is for the State Auditor to certify the Department of Revenue’s numbers by the statutory deadline of September 20.
Nearly a month before the September 20 deadline, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, and Citizens for Limited Taxation announced that they have partnered with the New England Legal Foundation and the Goldwater Institute to prepare to bring suit to enforce Chapter 62F of Massachusetts law, should such action be necessary. Jon Riches is the lead attorney at the Goldwater Institute and his co-counsel in Massachusetts are Dan Winslow and Ben Robbins of the New England Legal Foundation. The voters of the Commonwealth enacted Chapter 62F in 1986 to implement hard limits on the amount Massachusetts can tax its residents and on government spending. If revenues exceed the imposed limit, the state “shall” issue “tax credits equal to the total amount of such excess” to all Massachusetts taxpayers. The revenue growth limit was spearheaded by Citizens for Limited Taxation and the Massachusetts High Technology Council. Chapter 62F permits 24 named taxpayers in the Commonwealth to bring an action to the Supreme Judicial Court or Superior Court to enforce the provisions of that law. If necessary, the potential lawsuit will be filed at 9:00 a.m. on September 21 with plaintiffs from every Massachusetts county and taxpayer plaintiffs from many taxpayer organizations.
“The countdown has now officially started. The State Auditor must comply with the law and if she doesn’t, we are fully prepared to address the matter in court. The best thing the Auditor can do is quickly act and verify the Department of Revenue numbers which will then allow the state to begin the process of rebating every Massachusetts taxpayer back their hard-earned money,” said Daniel B. Winslow, President of the New England Legal Foundation.
“The more time the Auditor allows for the certification process, the more time she allows for outside influence by those who do not want credits sent back to the taxpayers. There is also a very strong argument to be made that since the Speaker and Senate President failed to pass their tax relief package, taxpayers need this money as soon as possible to help with the rising cost of inflation. Back to school shopping is well underway and soon enough families across the state will be thinking about rising home heating costs. They need this money more than ever,” stated Paul Diego Craney, spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
“In 1986, Citizens for Limited Taxation put forth this ballot question with the expectation that Massachusetts taxpayers would one day need this law. Any required credit should not be delayed as a refund next year, as the original intent when CLT drafted it was to get the money back to the taxpayers expeditiously. With inflation still surging, delay will only devalue the amount returned to the taxpayers,” added Chip Ford, Executive Director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.
“The State Auditor has a duty to comply with the law and certify these numbers so that hardworking Massachusetts taxpayers receive the full rebate amount to which they are entitled through Chapter 62F. This law protects working families and individuals from runaway tax-and-spend practices that lead to financial turmoil, and if the Massachusetts government refuses to follow it, we won’t hesitate to bring immediate and necessary action to protect Massachusetts taxpayers,” said Jon Riches, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute.