Improves the Community Preservation Act's (CPA) success story of enabling 176 communities to create affordable housing, rehabilitate significant historic resources, develop parks and recreational facilities and preserve open space. Increases Registry of Deeds recording fees to guarantee up to almost a 50% state match. The current $20 surcharge was instituted in 2003. This will increase it to $75.
This bill brings child support home by paying it to needy Massachusetts families instead of the federal government. Currently, families receiving TAFDC benefits (transitional aid to families with dependent children) must assign their child support rights to the state. Of that money, Massachusetts pays the family a maximum of only $50 a month; the rest is split between the state and federal government. But, the federal government has recently decided to waive its claim to half of the money it is currently entitled to if the state government lets the family keep a larger share of the child support collected. This bill would send families the full amount permitted by the new federal law. It also contains a similar provision with respect to a family’s rights to any uncollected back child support.
This legislation is necessary to provide further relief to Holocaust survivors, or their families, living in our communities who hold outstanding insurance claims from the Nazi era. Specifically, it would require the State Insurance Commissioner to assist Holocaust victims and establish and maintain a registry regarding insurance policies issued in Europe to victims of the Holocaust during the Nazi period. In addition, this bill would allow claimants for Holocaust-era insurance policies to pursue action in the Massachusetts court system.
relative to Municipal Unemployment Insurance Reform
This closes two important loopholes by extending ‘reasonable assurance’ to employees who work on behalf of the schools but are paid through a municipal budget, and creates an offset for retirees collecting a pension and UI benefits.
Improving the Earned Income Tax Credit for Working Families
This bill would increase the state EITC from 23 to 50 percent. EITC is a federal tax credit for low-income working families and some individuals, which offsets some or all federal income taxes, and in many cases provides supplemental income to help offset other taxes, including sales and payroll taxes. The federal EITC lifts 6.6 million Americans, including 3.3 million children out of poverty each year.
relative to Adjusting the Senior Circuit Breaker Property Valuation
This updates the property valuation limit for the senior circuit breaker which was set many years ago (and adjusted yearly for inflation, to $778,000 for 2018). This bill raises the qualifying property value up to that of the average single family house in the community or the current calculation, whichever is greater. In communities where values are now high, many limited-income seniors live in homes they moved into decades ago, and they have not been able to qualify for the circuit breaker solely because of the property value.
The excise on each barrel or gallon is a fixed amount calculated by volume, rather than as a percentage of the product’s cost. Therefore, the rate needs to be periodically increased to reflect inflation and maintain the appropriate level of taxation. Alcohol excise rates could quadruple and still remain below the inflation-adjusted 1976 rates. The new rates would produce roughly $150 million in new revenues.
Aims to reduce the property tax burden on senior citizens and their heirs: a) changes the repayment schedule for the Property Tax Deferral Program to offer a 12 month grace period of lower interest rates for a decedent’s family to settle an estate, and for veterans and their families; and b) allows Town Assessors more discretion to grant hardship waivers.
relative to Senior "Circuit Breaker" Medicare Part A Adjustment
The circuit breaker is calculated based on property tax and water and sewer fees paid, and this would add Medicare Part A payments to the calculation. People who qualify for Medicare Part A get this insurance for free, but those who do not meet the 40 quarter work requirement for Medicare have to pay up to $437 per month for this insurance. Medicare Part A covers Medicare inpatient care, including care received while in a hospital, a skilled nursing facility, and, in limited circumstances, at home.
This will remove the local property tax exemption for equipment and machinery for telecom companies. The property of these companies should be taxed in the same manner as the personal property of other businesses.
relative to a Local Option Excise on the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages for Municipal Substance Abuse Prevention and Public Health Programs
This would allow cities and towns to adopt a sales tax of up to 2 percent on the retail sale of alcoholic beverages, including sales in bars and restaurants and by packages stores and other non-pouring establishments. Cities and towns would be required to use the revenues for local substance abuse and other public health programs. According to the MMA, it is estimated a 1 percent excise would provide between $67 million to $75 million if adopted in all cities and towns.