Tax Fairness

Massachusetts’s tax system continues to widen inequity by maintaining a “regressive” tax infrastructure. Middle and lower income earners are paying a much higher share than those at the top 1%. While a majority of taxes in Massachusetts have a single, uniform rate—for example, regardless of income, people all pay the same 5.05 percent income tax rate and 6.25 percent sales tax—different income groups nonetheless pay very different portions of their incomes in state and local taxes. On average, Massachusetts families with the lowest incomes contribute a larger percentage of their incomes in state and local taxes than do households in the top 20 percent of incomes. In fact, those with the highest incomes contribute the lowest percentage of their incomes. This is not equitable. I was proud to be a lead advocate on a 1.1 billion dollar tax relief package that was signed into law and will benefit hundreds of thousands of families and seniors. In his first session and current session, Rep. Scanlon filed legislation to improve the senior circuit breaker tax program, the Senior Circuit Breaker, MA Schedule CB went into effect in 2001. It was designed so that senior homeowners (who are often on fixed incomes and have most of their wealth tied up in home equity) are not paying more than 10% of their total income in property taxes and water and sewer expenses. Governor Healey called for improving the senior circuit breaker tax credit as well as other important changes, by incorporating Rep. Scanlon’s bill into a larger proposal regarding tax relief. This session, the House and Senate passed differing versions of a tax bill but both chambers embraced the need for addressing the senior circuit breaker tax credit. Rep. Scanlon offered his inaugural speech in April of 2023 on the House version of the bill as tax relief for seniors and others has long been a priority for him. The provision would double the tax credit from $1,200 to $2,400. This change is expected to impact over 100,000 senior taxpayers who own or rent residential property in Massachusetts as their principal residence. The bill makes other important investments by updating the estate tax and expanding the earned income tax credit. The bill also created a children and dependent tax credit that will deliver relief to over 700,000 families in our Commonwealth. The bill was signed into law in 2023 and was the largest tax relief package passed in the Commonwealth's history. Rep. Scanlon has many other bills that he has filed regarding tax relief for seniors and veterans and he will continue to be a champion on this issue.