Collage by Jason Pramas. CC-BY-SA 2022 Jason Pramas. Image "MASS state house" by christopdesoto is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Collage by Jason Pramas. CC-BY-SA 2022 Jason Pramas. Image “MASS state house” by christopdesoto is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The proposed $38,000 income floor for $250 checks is unfair during the ongoing economic crisis, contact your legislators today to demand they vote to eliminate it

Mass. House Speaker Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) have chosen a strange hill to die on as the legislature prepares to vote on a package of tax rebates this month as part of the Commonwealth’s annual budget process. While some of the rebates will be good for working people in general—like raising the amount of annual rent that is deductible from individual taxes from $3,000 to $4,000—others will hurt them. Particularly the current proposal to only provide a tax refund check of $250 to individuals who made $38,000 or more in 2021 (or $500 for some dual-income households).

According to the Boston Globe, “Spilka, Mariano, and other legislative leaders also support a package that would increase the child and dependent care tax credit, the earned income tax credit, the senior circuit breaker tax credit, and provide for rental assistance, all proposals legislative leaders say are designed to benefit low-income families.”

But the thing that will help working poor families and seniors more than tax credits they may or may not qualify for is cold hard cash.

So why deny $250 checks to the people who literally need them most in an era of ongoing economic and public health crises that show no sign of abating? It seems arbitrary and capricious to cut tens of thousands of Mass residents out of an economic boost that people who make more than they do will be getting whether they need it or not.

As such, I strongly encourage readers to contact your state legislators (plus Mariano and Spilka, if you’re not in their districts) and demand that they eliminate the $38,000 floor on the proposed tax rebate to get as many people $250 checks as possible as soon as possible. The easiest way to do that is tell them to join Reps. Tami Gouveia (D-Acton) and Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) in co-sponsoring Amendment #813 to H5007 (“An Act Relating to Economic Growth and Relief for the Commonwealth”): Fair Relief Now to Low Income Workers—which will strike the income floor from the relevant tax rebate bill language.

Debate on the bill is scheduled for tomorrow (July 13); so take action today!

Apparent Horizon—an award-winning political column—is syndicated by the MassWire news service of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Jason Pramas is BINJ’s executive director, editor of the Somerville Wire, and executive editor and associate publisher of DigBoston.