Supreme Judicial Court could resolve tax policy dispute

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BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – House Speaker Robert DeLeo is asking the Supreme Judicial Court for input after the Senate proposed tax policy changes in their version of the budget.

The State Senate passed a measure freezing the state income tax rate at 5.15 percent, bypassing an existing law that allows the rate to fall to 5 percent. The state’s constitution requires bills that involve tax increases to originate in the House.

Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo is asking the state’s highest court to decide whether the Senate’s proposal is constitutional. Senate leaders argue that the tax policy doesn’t change the state budget’s bottom line of $38 billion.

A final spending plan will eventually land on the Governor’s desk for his review. When asked what he thinks of the conflict, Governor Charlie Baker told 22News “I think it’s an important question and I hope it gets resolved and doesn’t screw up our ability collectively to get a budget in place for the people of Massachusetts by the first of July which is when it’s due.”

House and Senate leaders must submit their arguments to the SJC by next Friday.

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