WANTED: A Transparent Legislative Agenda

Across the Commonwealth, lawmakers are receiving Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance’s letter urging legislative leaders to legislate in the open. This letter should be hitting their home mailboxes today.

MassFiscal urged lawmakers to pursue a legislative agenda in an open, transparent, and public manner. Taxpayers and the small business community will not thrive in a state where their elected leaders work behind closed doors, only to come up with a pre-destined solution. What a concept!

Big government State House leaders who passed pay raises with an emergency preamble are also promising discussions on “revenue” this fall. They passed a new tax on AirBnB only a few days before Christmas without a recorded roll call vote. They have legislation written adding a new tax on popular video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and ideas to increase the deeds excise tax on home sales. Even Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s wacky Green New Deal has a local counterpart with over 100 state lawmakers as co-sponsors to a Massachusetts version of a carbon tax.

All these taxes, plus a push to increase a gas tax, could be passed soon. While Massachusetts faces significant challenges in its transportation infrastructure, a lack of funding is not one of them.

A recent study by the Reason Foundation indicates that Massachusetts spends the third highest amount per road-mile of any state in the country. While the average expenditure per mile is around $71,000, Massachusetts spends almost triple that at $216,066. Before the legislature moves to increase taxes and debt on its constituents, we urge them to review these costs and enact sensible reforms to reign in wasteful and unnecessary spending.

Further, Massachusetts is set to end the year roughly $522M over projected revenues. This is one of our largest budget surpluses in recent memory and would provide most other state legislatures with ample margins to increase funding without raising new taxes.

In addition to protecting individuals from unnecessary and harmful tax increases, we urged lawmakers to also keep in mind the struggles of the small business employer community. Small businesses in the state are still feeling the negative effects of the EMAC tax. This is on top of the recently increased minimum wage and the headaches of the soon to be paid family and medical leave policy, which kicks into effect on October 1.

While State House leaders have told the public a new tax bill would be forthcoming this fall, no details have yet been made public. Small businesses can only hold their breath in anticipation for what surprise awaits them this time.

To read a copy of our letter, please click here.

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