[UPDATE: The Gov’s weekly podcast is about this topic]
The basic plan:
Governor Patrick announced today that he will create a Homeowner Circuit Breaker that will apply to homeowners of all ages. Under the plan, which would take effect January 1, 2008, an estimated 100,000 families and individuals across the Commonwealth would qualify for a state tax credit of up to $870 per year. This credit represents a nearly 25 percent offset to the average state-wide property tax bill of $3,800.
Individuals earning up to $46,000 who are not head of household, heads of household earning up to $58,000 and married couples filing jointly earning up to $70,000 would qualify. The assessed value of a homeowner’s principal residence could not exceed $684,000. The credit will cover the amount by which a household’s property tax payment, including water and sewer charges, exceeds 10 percent of their income.
In other words, the Governor has found a way for the state to provide property tax relief — and pretty significant property tax relief, at that. So those of you who, seven weeks in, were all set to decide that Deval Patrick made a whole slew of promises that he knew he couldn’t keep: we’re waiting for your apology.
Oh, and how will he pay for this? Read on:
To fund the Homeowner Circuit Breaker, Governor Patrick will file legislation next week to close a number of corporate tax loopholes that allow some companies to exploit the tax code and receive unintentional and unfair benefits.
“There are cracks in the system which allow companies to avoid paying their fair share,” Governor Patrick said. “By closing these unintended loopholes, we can help relieve the burden on homeowners and small businesses and assure that all Massachusetts businesses are treated fairly and equitably.”
You can read up on the details here.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The Governor also announced that next week he will call for an examination of the Commonwealth’s antiquated tax structure. Included in the study group will be members of the business community together with leaders in labor, government and other community stakeholders in order to create a business climate that strengthens our global competitiveness.
Now that could be interesting.
We await tomorrow’s front-page, above-the-fold headline in the Globe describing Patrick’s property tax relief/corporate loophole closing plan. — UPDATE (2/23): and there it is, written by our good friend Lisa Wangsness, no less. Thank goodness the Globe can still take a break from drapes, Cadillacs, and Tom Brady’s unborn child to cover something that could actually affect the people of Massachusetts!