BOSTON – The legislature continues to hold public hearings on bills filed in both chambers this week. Due to procedural delays, these hearings provided the first opportunity for many committees to consider bills filed by Senators.
Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) offered testimony on several bills, including four he sponsored that were assigned to the Joint Committee on Revenue. “These bills were crafted to bring a greater sense of equality to our tax code, and eliminate unnecessary burdens on individuals and businesses across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Moore. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to testify before the Committee and begin moving these bills through the legislative process.”
Senator Moore spoke at length about his bill, S.1526, an Act relative to equalizing the Department of Revenue interest rates, which seeks to rectify the inequitable interest rates between taxpayers and the Commonwealth. Under the current law, if a taxpayer fails to make a timely payment, they are required to pay interest after the statutory due date. The interest for this tax liability is the federal short-term rate, plus 4 percentage points, compounded daily. In contrast, when the Department of Revenue (DOR) owes a taxpayer a refund, the rate of interest is the federal short-term rate, plus 2 percentage points, computed as simple interest. In addition, DOR gets 120 days from the last date for filing the tax return before interest applies. If the refund is mailed within the 120 days, DOR pays no interest.
“This bill is narrow in scope, but it targets a glaring imbalance in our tax code that levies undue costs on Massachusetts citizens and undermines the principles of fairness in our system” Moore said. “Beyond the basic inequity of the statute, the passage of this bill signifies a commitment to equality and fairness in our tax code that cannot be overstated”
Senator Moore spoke in favor of three other bills he sponsored that were also assigned to the committee. S.1527 would establish a commission to study the feasibility of reducing the sales tax to 5% based on achieving economic benchmarks. The language is based on the existing law regarding the income tax, which was passed in 2002. S.1529 would offer tax relief to companies that converted their vehicle fleet to propane, and S.1530 would amend and streamline administrative tax policies to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles for taxpayers and reduce unnecessary costs for the Commonwealth.
The bills now await a vote from the committee on their passage. To examine the bills in more detail and track their progress, please visit the Legislature’s website (www.malegislature.gov).