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Massachusetts House and Senate leadership split over pursuing failed economic bill, tax relief

Is there still hope for tax relief in Massachusetts?
Is there still hope for tax relief in Massachusetts? 02:54

BOSTON - It has been just over one week since the formal legislative session closed with lawmakers failing to pass a sweeping $4.5 billion-dollar economic development bill which also included $1 billion in tax relief.

Lawmakers say they are informally working on the bill, but it is unclear what if anything will happen with it.

Speaker of the House, Ron Mariano, said he is hesitant to move forward on the bill, which also included a $250 tax rebate for individuals, because he is waiting to see if a decades old law called Chapter 62F will kick in. It could refund roughly $3 billion to taxpayers if state revenues exceed the allowable amount. The state auditor will determine that at the end of September.

Currently, the state's budget surplus is roughly $5 billion.

"Being fiscally prudent got us into this situation where we have this huge amount of surplus so we're not going to abandon that now in the midst of this and start to spend money," Mariano said.

Senate President Karen Spilka said she would support bringing lawmakers back from vacation for a formal session to pass the bill, but she cannot make any moves until the House does.

"I believe that the legislature should pass tax relief and an economic development bill now. I believe we have the money," Spilka said.

Governor Baker argues that the state has enough money to afford the 62F refunds and the economic development bill.

"The big refund goes to everybody based on chapter 62f but most of the other tax proposals are pretty targeted to populations that I think everybody would agree are the ones who should be receiving relief," Baker said. 

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