Just over a month into 2012, and the legislative year has been marked by a flurry of activity at the State House. Here’s a quick update on a few of the issues important to the BBA:
- Today, the Legislature advanced S 2112, a $130 million Supplemental Budget. Supplemental budgets provide additional funding to programs with a funding shortfall and are intended to address changes in program costs or revenue collections. Supplemental budgets don’t typically include legislation. This Supplemental Budget includes a much-needed additional $1 million for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) for fiscal year 2012, which ends June 30th.
- While the House debated the Supplemental Budget, Representative Winslow and Representative Peisch filed an amendment that would help mitigate the potential for Massachusetts double taxation with respect to most 2010 decedents. The BBA watched this closely knowing the impact this amendment would have on trusts and estates in Massachusetts. The amendment was unanimously supported in the House but, unfortunately, it was not taken up by the Senate. The final Supplemental Budget included the additional money for MLAC but did not include the important language regarding the Massachusetts income tax basis.
- At the same time, the Joint Committee on Revenue voted favorably on H 3915, An Act to Continue Tax Basis Rules for Property Acquired from Decedents. H 3915 mirrors the amendment to the Supplemental Budget and seeks to accomplish the same thing. This bill is currently being reviewed by House Ways & Means. H 3915 is a new draft of H 2995, a bill that Representative Peisch filed on behalf of the BBA at the beginning of this session. While the amendment filed to the House budget and H 3915 are not quite the solution the BBA had wanted – i.e. full step-up regardless of year of death and regardless of what election is made federally for 2010 – it is an improvement on the recent Department of Revenue Directive 11-7.
- Also this week, House Ways & Means reported S 1987, An Act Providing Access to Forensic and Scientific Analysis favorably. It appeared that the House would be voting on it on Wednesday during their formal session but the session was cancelled due to the memorial services for former Boston Mayor Kevin White. Now, it looks like the House could be voting on this important bill as early as next week, thanks to Representative John Fernandes’ great leadership on this issue.
– Kathleen Joyce
Director of Government Relations
Boston Bar Association