Gas tax relief still in the works
House and Senate leaders have ruled out a state gas tax suspension, but House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate Speaker Karen Spilka both said Monday that their chambers were occupied at develop relief programs that will aim to help residents feel the pain of inflation and/or COVID-19[FEMININE[FEMININE
Mariano said his team was working on some of the ideas from Gov. Charlie Baker’s roughly $700 million tax relief plan and “a few others that I got from members to kind of create a wide range of relief “.
Spilka said senators were “in discussion and deliberation” on a relief package and promised it would be put to a vote “as soon as we have something concrete,” but before the end of July.
“We’re looking at relief for low-income people, the most vulnerable populations and working families that we have. We’re looking at relief for seniors. We’re looking at relief in various forms,” Spilka said Monday.
She also again rejected the idea of a gasoline tax suspension and pointed to Connecticut, where the 25-cent-per-gallon excise on gasoline is not in effect, but a gallon of Gasoline still averages $4.89 compared to $4.96 in Massachusetts, as proof that a suspension wouldn’t significantly benefit drivers.
“There’s nothing we can do to demand that if we lower or suspend the gas tax it actually goes into the pockets of those at the pumps because the oil companies can keep that gas tax and not pass it on to individuals who buy gasoline,” Spilka said. “So we are looking at other forms of assistance and tax relief for working families.”
Although he was asked about the tax relief on Monday, Mariano never used the phrase himself and told reporters that residents would not see the benefit of most adjustments to the tax code of the state until they file their taxes next year.
“This whole thing about tax cuts, well, the tax cuts won’t happen until next year and I think we have to be aware of that. We keep hearing those cries for immediate relief – eliminate the gas tax and all that — and, you know, the gas tax turned out to be, as the president of the Senate alluded to in Connecticut, a myth,” Mariano said. “So we want to make sure that everything we do gets into the hands of the people most severely affected by COVID.”