With First-Ever Remote Session, House Passes Legislation To Ensure the Fiscal Health of Massachusetts

The following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media

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BOSTON – During its historic first remote voting formal session yesterday, May 6, State Representatives Jack Patrick Lewis, Carmine Gentile, and Maria Robinson, 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 of the House Robert 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.”

The bill will now go to the Senate.

“It is encouraging to see the cooperation among my colleagues to actualize formal remote voting and the passage of this much needed bill,” said Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis (Framingham). “We have an obligation to carry out our responsibilities while also modeling safe and responsible behavior.”

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.

“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 session, which included remote voting for the first time in the legislature’s 384-year history, 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.

“I’m grateful that many Representatives worked hard to develop a secure method of voting remotely,” said Rep. Maria Robinson (Framingham). “Social distancing is incredibly important, and it’s essential that elected officials lead by example.”

“After two months the Massachusetts House is again holding formal sessions, albeit remotely,” said Rep. Carmine Gentile (Sudbury). “I am looking forward to crafting a budget that sees our Commonwealth through the year of recovery ahead, protects the vulnerable, educates our
children, meets the challenge of climate change, and moves our economy forward bringing people back to work. Together we will overcome the challenges that nature has set before us.”


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