During its historic first remote voting formal session last week, Speaker Bob DeLeo and Rep. Joseph McGonagle along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives passed legislation to authorize necessary state borrowing during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“During this time of uncertainty, the House is focused on not only public health but ensuring the financial health of our Commonwealth,” said Speaker DeLeo (D – Winthrop). “I am grateful to Chair Michlewitz for his work to move this legislation forward and to the House COVID-19 Working Group that made this vote possible today.”
“I am extremely proud of my co-workers and being a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature for finding a historic way to function and continue voting during this time,” said McGonagle. “The legislation we passed is crucial to the economic wellbeing of the Commonwealth, but I cannot stress enough the importance of the remote voting. This remarkable move is the first of its’ kind and will help keep work flowing throughout the pandemic.”
The legislation, An Act to Facilitate the Delay of the Income Tax Filing Deadline, authorizes the State Treasurer to borrow in anticipation of tax receipts by the end of Fiscal Year 2020 and to repay those sums by June 30, 2021. This action is necessary due to the delay in tax revenue as a result of the extended deadlines of income tax filings and payments to July 15, 2020, which were extended because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The session, which included remote voting, was the first held following the passage of Emergency Rules enabling Members to vote and debate safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Legislature, working closely with the Baker Administration, passed legislation that moved the income tax filing deadline for residents of the Commonwealth. While this step helped thousands of people have more time to prepare their tax returns, it created a serious cash flow problem for the State,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “By passing this legislation we will ensure that the fiscal health of the Commonwealth remains strong and that we are able to maintain the services that our constituents rely upon each and every day.”
The bill will now go to the Senate.