The Massachusetts House, working into the night, passed a sales tax hike of 1.25%, bringing the sales tax to 6.25%. The House passed the increase after a day of hard lobbying by the Speaker, by a vote of 108-51. I will post the full tally as soon as it is available. The margin that the Speaker achieved was veto proof, with 107 needed to get to that mark. The Speaker felt obligated by the Governor’s veto threat to drive the whip hard, and he certainly did do that. The fight now moves to the Senate, where Ways and Means will have to produce a budget with a more realistic revenue number than the House.
It is inconceivable to me that the Speaker would have gone to all this trouble if he did not have an agreement with Senate President Murray to have the Senate move in the same direction on revenue. Will the Senate be able to produce a veto proof majority for a sales tax hike to 6.25%? It is going to be a battle, with Republicans unable to produce sufficient numbers to help the Governor sustain a potential veto. But what will come out of the Senate will be a budget that will show how little of an impact this hike will really have. Constituencies that believe this tax will be budgetary salvation are in for a rude suprise. I have talked about the numbers in a prior post, so no need to rehash here. Today’s Tribune has a story on the sales tax proposal. I called the proposal a job killer, and that it is. Read the Tribune story here.
Sales Tax Roll Call Vote is Now Posted Below.