The Recorder – Beacon Hill Roll Call: December 20 to 24, 2021

There was no roll call in the House or Senate last week.

This week’s Beacon Hill Roll Call reports the number of times during the 2021 session each senator sided with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and voted to maintain the governor’s 25 vetoes on articles, mostly in the state budget for fiscal year 2022. A vote of support means the senator supports Baker’s veto. A waiver vote means the senator voted to fund the article despite the governor’s veto.

The current composition of the Senate is 36 Democrats, three Republicans and one vacant seat. A two-thirds vote is required to override a governorship veto in a 40-member Senate when there is no vacancy. The governor needs the support of 14 senators to maintain a veto if all 40 senators have voted – and fewer votes if some members are absent or there are vacancies.

Baker failed to achieve this goal, as six votes were the biggest support he received on a veto. The Senate easily rescinded the 25 vetoes, including five that were unanimously rescinded.

The vetoes did not have the support of 30 of the 36 Democrats who never voted once to support Baker’s veto. Only six Democratic senators voted to maintain one of the governor’s vetoes. The Democrat who has voted with Baker most often to maintain his veto is Senator Walter Timilty, D-Milton, who has voted with Baker four times. Senator Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, voted twice with Baker. Senators Sonia Chang-Díaz, D-Boston, Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, Jason Lewis, D-Winchester and Mike Rodrigues, D-Westport each voted once with Baker.

None of the three Republicans voted with Baker 100 percent of the time. The Republican Senator who voted the most times with Baker was Senator Ryan Fattman, R-Sutton, who voted with Baker 17 times (68.0% of the time). Senator Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, voted with Baker only five times (20.0%), the fewest times among Republicans. Even Republican Minority Leader Bruce Tarr R-Gloucester only backed Baker 14 times (56.0%).

The percentage next to the senator’s name represents the percentage of times he has supported Baker. The number in parentheses represents the actual number of times the senator seconded Baker.

Senator Joanne Comerford – 0% (0)

Senator Anne Gobi – 0% (0)

Senator Adam Hinds – 0% (0)

Also on Beacon HillCompanies must pay higher taxes if the CEO’s salary is more than 100 times the median salary of workers (S 1907)

The income committee held a virtual hearing that would demand that an additional 2% tax be paid by publicly traded companies that pay CEOs more than 100 times the worker’s median salary.

“In 1955, general managers earned about 11 times as much as their employees,” said sponsor Senator Jason Lewis, D-Winchester. “In 2019, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the ratio of CEO pay to the typical worker reached an obscene level of 320: 1. the past decades are a major contributor to the destabilizing inequality of income and wealth that plagues our Commonwealth and our country. This bill would be a small step in the fight against income inequality and the promotion of economic justice for working people. “

Eliminate the minimum excise tax of $ 456 for corporations (H 2954)

The revenue committee held a virtual hearing on legislation that would eliminate the minimum excise tax of $ 456 for business corporations.

“The minimum tax has no impact on a company’s ability to pay, which means that large multinational companies and small newly created companies are subject to the same tax standards,” said the representative of the head of the House minority, Brad Jones, R-North Reading. “The elimination of the minimum excise tax would help and encourage business creation in the Commonwealth, having positive effects on the state’s main economic indicators. “

Tax credit for taxpayers who get vaccinated against COVID-19 (H 2865)

The revenue committee will hold a virtual hearing on January 4, 2022 on a proposal that would offer taxpayers a $ 100 tax credit if the filer has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and includes proof with their tax return.

“To successfully fight the COVID-19 virus, we must use a range of tools to achieve the highest possible level of immunization in our population, recognizing the distinct economic value of doing so,” said sponsor Vince Dixon , a private citizen who sponsored the bill by Representative Michael Day, D-Stoneham. “An immunization tax credit specifically offers an economic incentive to people who make the effort to get immunized – in fact, sharing the significant economic value of such actions. Doing so will likely further improve adherence to the value of safe and approved vaccinations. “

Representative Day introduced the bill at Dixon’s request. Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that grant citizens the “right of free petition” – the power to propose their own legislation. A citizen’s proposal must be tabled jointly with his representative or senator or any other representative or senator. Sometimes a legislator supports the legislation and sponsors it with the voter. Other times, a lawmaker may disagree with the bill or be undecided about the measure, but will table it anyway out of courtesy. In these cases, the bill is listed as being tabled “on demand” – indicating that the legislature is doing so at the request of the voter and not necessarily supporting it.

Exempt masks, face shields and gloves from sales tax (H 2847)

The virtual revenue committee hearing on January 4, 2022 will also include a proposal that would exempt masks, face shields, medical gloves and gowns from the state’s 6.25% sales tax.

“These products are in high demand and are going at record prices,” said sponsor Rep. Tackey Chan, D-Quincy. “Exempting them from sales tax helps keep them accessible, which is especially important as we continue to encourage residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces.”

Abolish inheritance tax / death tax (S 1862 and S 1942)

The revenue committee will hold a virtual hearing on January 12, 2022 on separate bills sponsored by Sens. Ryan Fattman, R-Sutton, and Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, who would abolish the tax that an estate of a person with assets over a million dollars must be paid after their death before being distributed to any beneficiary.

The first million dollars is exempt from this tax and the tax on any amount over 1 million dollars is a progressive tax which varies from 0.8% to 16%. This tax applies to the full value of the estate, not just the portion above the million dollar mark. Most Republicans are against the tax and have coined the name “death tax” to imply that the government taxes you even after you die. Most Democrats support the tax and call it an “inheritance tax” to imply that this tax is only paid by the rich.

“The estate tax threshold in Massachusetts is much lower than what’s already imposed federally – $ 1 million versus $ 12 million federally,” said Fattman. “This year, for the first time in history, the average house price in Massachusetts has exceeded $ 500,000. Since inheritance tax is a tax on the transfer of the value of a deceased’s estate before distribution to all beneficiaries, and when you factor in a house that would sell for over $ 500,000 plus additional assets, this threshold becomes very easy to achieve. This creates a financial burden for people who may not be able to afford the tax bill. “

“Massachusetts is one of the few states to administer an inheritance tax in addition to federal inheritance tax. While the threshold for an individual at the federal level is $ 12.06 million, in Massachusetts it is only $ 1 million, ”O’Connor said. “I don’t think families who have made Massachusetts their home their entire lives should consider moving elsewhere because of outdated tax law.”

Treatment of hens and standards without a cage (S 2603)

The House and Senate approved, and Governor Baker enacted a version of conference committee legislation that would make changes and bring Massachusetts into line with other larger egg-producing states that have standards in place. for confinement of hens. In 2016, voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly passed Question 3 to prevent cruelty to pigs, calves and laying hens. At the time, this was the strictest farm animal law in history, but since then major retailers, producers and other states have imposed even stricter standards in passing conditions. without cage for chickens. Supporters said the bill would ensure Massachusetts adapts to new science unavailable in 2016.

Senate godfather Senator Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, said the standard in the country for laying hens has evolved and Massachusetts is now an outlier, which could threaten the country’s egg supply. State.

“Fortunately, egg farmers and animal welfare groups have come together to agree on this legislation, ensuring safe and humane conditions for laying hens and affordable eggs for Massachusetts consumers,” Lewis said. .

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lobbied against the bill.

“Whether the hens have 1 square foot or 1.5 square feet of space, the term ‘cage-free’ is still a scam,” said Tracy Reiman, executive vice president of PETA. “These exploited animals are forced into a hellish landscape of overcrowding and chaos before being slaughtered and replaced by the next batch of doomed souls. PETA is launching an ad campaign in Boston exposing the suffering hens will endure under this bill, and we urge the public to see through the lies and greed of the egg industry and go vegan.

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