The Massachusetts House will not participate in a Senate-hatched working group to study overhauling the state tax code — and instead it will look at the state’s tax system through its existing Revenue Committee, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said on Wednesday.
But these efforts to take a more comprehensive view of the state tax code do not appear to rule out more immediate revenue-raising proposals.
While Senate President Karen E. Spilka told the Globe the Senate group could take up to the full two-year legislative session to compile its recommendations, that would not preclude the chamber from looking at or taking up revenue proposals this session, a spokeswoman for the Senate president said.
“I think it’s an important issue to look at,” DeLeo told reporters about taking a look at the entire tax code. He added he prefers the analysis occur within the existing Joint Committee on Revenue.
As reported in the Globe, Spilka plans to unveil in coming weeks a new working group of policy makers, academics, and business specialists who are tasked with studying how to modernize the state tax code. She and Adam Hinds, the Senate chairman of the Revenue Committee, pitched it as a joint effort with the House.
But on Wednesday DeLeo made it clear that the new group will be a Senate-only exercise.
DeLeo told the Globe that he has asked Representative Mark Cusack, the House chairman of the joint Revenue Committee, “to study and to take a look at our revenue system as well.”
“We’ll do the same [as the Senate], only probably just in the committee structure,” said DeLeo.
DeLeo has left the door open for legislation that could raise revenues as soon as this year. Earlier this month, he said it’s “all on the table” in regards to new revenue for the state’s transportation needs.
Asked about the Senate group and what it means for the revenue debate this year, Governor Charlie Baker defended his $42.7 billion budget proposal as setting out an “appropriate” level of funding for transportation and other areas.
“I look forward to engaging in the debate but as I said before I don’t think we should be raising broad-based taxes to pay for the budget,” he said.