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Keller @ Large: State Senate President On Taxes, Mental Health Parity

BOSTON (CBS) -- The president of the Massachusetts State Senate, Karen Spilka of Ashland joined Jon Keller Sunday to discuss the new legislative session about to begin on Beacon Hill.

Spilka said tax laws have not been keeping up with the changes in the economy and technology. She said she wants to be more proactive and collaborate with experts.

"We make laws to change how we tax the home-sharing or the ridesharing businesses but we are years not only decreases our tax revenue but in terms of regulation and handling all the new economy, the new technology, it creates a lot of confusion for the businesses, for government officials, for the consumers themselves."

Therefore, Spilka said she is calling for an "honest discussion," to which Keller asked if she meant that all options were on the table. She responded, "It should be, yeah. What do we want to do, how are we going to pay for it."

Spilka also said she did and still does support the millionaire's tax.

In her opening remarks, Spilka called for "true mental health parity." By that, she means there should be the same amount of coverage for mental health diseases as there are for others.

"It's not always the case, it's hard to find behavioral health specialists, the rates for reimbursement are low in some areas. It just, in so many ways, does not happen. People can't get and don't get coverage for mental health. I believe that it should be treated the exact same way as if somebody had diabetes or heart disease."

Spilka also wants to reduce the stigma around mental illness and says the state would be best off, again, if they called in the experts.

Spilka complimented Elizabeth Warren but stopped just shy of an endorsement this early on in the race.


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