Mass Senate Passes Legislation Authorizing Short-Term Borrowing During Historic Remote Session

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The following is a press release from Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka’s office submitted to SOURCE media.

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BOSTON – The  Massachusetts State Senate convened Thursday for the first-ever remote session in the history of the body to pass legislation to allow short-term borrowing to meet the Commonwealth’s financial obligations.

“I am proud of the Senate’s ability to meet the challenges of this public health pandemic and humbled by the historic nature through which today’s vote was taken,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “The legislation that advanced today will help the Commonwealth responsibly meet near-term budget challenges as we continue to address the impacts of COVID-19. I’d like to Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues as well my colleagues for their bipartisan support of this legislation.”

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

“In order to protect the Commonwealth’s taxpayers and maintain fiscal discipline during this public health crisis, the bi-partisan legislation passed by the Senate today authorizes the Commonwealth to finance the recent extension of the 2019 state individual income tax filing deadline and provides a necessary bridge to help us get through the next few months until the next fiscal year,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. 

The legislation, An Act to Facilitate the Delay of the Income Tax Filing Deadline, complements legislative action taken in early April to extend the income tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020, which provided flexibility to residents and families across the state amid the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The extension mirrors actions taken on the federal level.

To ensure budgetary stability, the bill allows the treasurer to borrow during Fiscal Year 2020 to meet financial obligations that would normally be fulfilled through income tax filings.

“Thanks to the steady leadership of Senate President Spilka, the continued hard work of my colleagues in the Senate, and the continued collaboration with our partners in the House and Administration, the passage of this bill will allow the Commonwealth to meets its fiscal obligations and pay its bills without negatively affecting our residents in the midst of this pandemic,” said Senator Rodrigues.

“This borrowing bill, passed with bipartisan collaboration, will allow state government to deliver on its commitments without disruption. That, in turn, will translate into the actions we need to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and support important spending items like local aid and school funding,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester)

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