TOPSFIELD – Representative Jamie Zahlaway Belsito and her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $4.2 billion dollar Economic Development bill on Thursday. The funding for this bill comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, Fiscal Year 2022 surplus funds, and bonds to make transformational investments across the Commonwealth. This bill also has significant changes to the Commonwealth’s tax code that will help families, seniors, and those living on fixed incomes during these difficult economic times.
Within the bill, Representative Belsito was able to secure $475,000 for the communities of the 4th Essex District, including funding for disability improvements to playgrounds in Rowley, direct support for the Acord Food Pantry in Hamilton, a bio-retention system in Wenham, and streetscape and beautification improvements in Topsfield.
“As Massachusetts residents continue to face severe inflation and economic uncertainty, I’m proud of the action taken by the House today that will provide low and middle-class taxpayers with much needed financial relief,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “Included in this legislation are several significant tax relief proposals, over $2.5 billion worth of one-time industry targeted investments, economic relief rebates for qualifying taxpayers, and a newly established source of revenue to fund the state’s early education and care system. These are vital forms of real, tangible economic relief. I want to thank Chairs Michlewitz, Cusack, Parisella, Gregoire, and Hunt, as well as all my colleagues in the House, for the hard work required to put this ever-important economic development package together.”
“This well-rounded spending package makes significant, targeted investments will help support major sectors of our economy and make us more competitive with other states” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means. “By making these investments and offering much needed tax relief to our middle-class constituents, we will be giving a much-needed boost to our residents who were hit the hardest by this pandemic.”
“My constituents and communities have kept me up to date on the economic challenges that they have been facing as we all continue to navigate through COVID. The permanent policy changes our legislative body has proposed will help people in my district.”, said Representative Belsito. “The bill supports working families, seniors, and renters. We are investing in our main streets and our environment. I couldn’t be prouder of this bill and what I am able to bring home to my district.”
Other highlights of the Economic Development bill include:
• Increasing the Child and Dependent Care Credit from $180 per child to $310 per child, as well as eliminating the current cap of $360 for two or more children. This is expected to impact over 700,000 families.
• Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 30 percent to 40 percent of the federal credit. This is expected to impact about 396,000 taxpayers with incomes under $57,000.
• Increasing the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit from $750 to $1,755. Currently, the Department of Revenue caps this credit at $1,170 due to cost-of-living adjustments over the $750 set in statute. Increasing it to $1,755 in statute is expected to impact over 100,000 taxpayers who own or rent residential property in Massachusetts as their principal residence.
• Increasing the rental deduction cap from $3,000 to $4,000. This is expected to impact about 881,000 taxpayers.
• Increasing the estate tax threshold from $1 million to $2 million and eliminating the “cliff” effect which would tax just the value of the estate that exceeds $2 million, not the entire estate. This is expected to impact about 2,500 taxpayers.
Health and Human Services
• $350 million for financially strained hospitals
• $165 million for nursing facilities workforce needs
• $100 million for supplemental rates for human services providers
• $80 million for community health centers
• $30 million to support Rest Homes across the Commonwealth
• $25 million to address food insecurity across the Commonwealth
• $15 million for grants to reproductive rights providers for security, workforce, and educational needs
• $15 million for grants to non-profits and community-based organizations to address gun violence and gun violence related trauma
• $175 million for state parks and recreational facilities upgrades, with $25 million for communities of color
• $125 million for environmental justice communities
• $100 million for marine port development
• $100 million for the Clean Water Trust Fund
• $300 million for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
• $125 million for small businesses, with $75 million for minority-owned businesses • $50 million for broadband investments in underserved communities
• $75 million in grants to hotels across the Commonwealth who saw financial loses during the pandemic
• $100 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
• $75 million for minority-owned housing development
The House bill also includes $1.26 billion in bond allocations to greater support the economic growth and stability of the Commonwealth. Highlights include:
• $400 million for the MassWorks Infrastructure Competitive grant program to support municipalities and other public entities support and accelerate housing production
• $200 million for the Technology Matching Grants program that supports various organizations to help compete for federal innovation grants
• $95 million for ADA compliance projects
• $73 million for the Housing Stabilization and Investment fund