Friday, July 31, 2015

Sales Tax Holiday on Tap for August

Tarr Bill Evolves Into Law


Boston-  Consumers in Massachusetts will realize $25 million in savings as a result of legislation that marks August 15th and 16th as a state sales tax free weekend.  Lawmakers gave final approval of the bill Thursday and sent it to Governor Baker for his expected approval.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) praised supporters of the bill for extending the tax-less weekend, “While we need to continue to pursue more lasting sales tax relief, this two-day holiday offers a chance for consumers to get a break while supporting local businesses we need to sustain and grow the Massachusetts economy.”

Tarr’s original bill establishing a permanent sales tax holiday for one weekend per year was used as the legislative vehicle by the House and Senate to authorize a one year tax reprieve this August on items less than $2,500.  The tax holiday has been granted to consumers annually since 2004 with one exception in 2009.  


“Hopefully the weekend of August 15 and 16 will see robust activity by consumers, and a boost for the retailers that depend on their business,” said Tarr.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts reports that the retail sector employs an addition 627 workers as a result of the tax holiday.  They say that consumer spending rises in Massachusetts during the tax holiday and results in more in-state sales that might otherwise migrate to New Hampshire or online.   According to a recent Beacon Hill Institute survey, 72% of respondents say they are more likely to shop nearby and keep spending local instead of buying online or in New Hampshire.

Members of the Legislature gave final approval of the bill yesterday by adding an emergency preamble which will result in the law being operative upon Governor Baker signature.  Baker, a supporter of the tax-free holiday, has indicated his intention of signing the bill into law.





Thursday, July 30, 2015

Senate Republican Caucus Opposes Automatic Sales Tax Expansion

Senate VoteEstablishes “Internet Sales Tax”                                                                                        

Boston-  The State Senate Republicans today objected to a bill which would automatically mandate state sales taxes on items purchased online if the federal government permits them to be taxed.  The bill requires the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue (DOR) to create new regulations and penalties for business to enforce the collection of taxes on sales made online and automatically adopt any new expansion of taxes in Internet sales approved by the federal government. 

“There are far too many questions and too many risks to put this tax increase on autopilot,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The measure before us has the impact of a tax increase because things that aren't being taxed will be taxed. We should not be ceding to Congress tax decisions that rightly remain here in Massachusetts.”

The DOR estimates that the automatic tax hike bill would allow Massachusetts to collect $150 million to as much as $200 million a year in additional taxes from consumers.

“We should be prepared for changes in federal tax laws and we should be seeking fairness for our local retailers but that doesn’t mean we should necessarily take action prematurely particularly when we know it will lead to a new tax that will extract as much as $200 million from our citizen consumers,” said Tarr.  “We already have two methods to collect sales and use taxes, we don’t need to put businesses under the microscope as they jump through more hoops and hurdles to comply with new regulation without having clear information and justification for doing so.”

Tarr and members of the Republican Caucus expressed concern with relinquishing control of tax law to the actions of Congress.  Tarr, expressing concern that changes in Washington could trigger an automatic tax rate and collection expansion opposed the bill as put before the Senate and offered amendments which would:

·         Remove from the bill language that requires the automatic adoption of new DOR rules to implement tax increases and mandates dictated by the federal government,

·         Reduce gradually the state tax rate from its current 6.25% to 5%, and

·         Direct the DOR commissioner to lower the overall sales tax rate, in the face of any future expansion of taxable sales transactions from on-line sales, to keep the state’s overall sales tax collection at a revenue neutral level.

Some local retailers, concerned with fairness of online sellers exempted from collecting the 6.25% sales tax, say they are at a competitive disadvantage to those selling the same items online.

Tarr gave credence to their concerns and expressed that the matter deserves more research and a fuller understanding, “While the goal of fairness is important and we should pursue it vigorously, this bill as written ties us to whatever the Congress may choice to do, and has the potential to create a system that taxes purchases on the Internet at a rate higher than their counterparts, and has a myriad of confusing, cumbersome and costly compliance mandates.  We shouldn’t take that risk now, and possibly subject consumers and retailers to those hardships, without knowing all the facts,” said Tarr.

The bill, entitled an act to promote sales tax fairness for main street retailers through minimum simplification, will now move to the House for consideration.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Senate Takes Steps to Advance Sales Tax Holiday

August 15 and 16 Slated for Tax Free Weekend
Boston- Consumers will be given an opportunity to shop without paying a state sales tax under a bill adopted by a 27 to 11 vote in the Senate today. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) a prime advocate for the tax holiday called the tax suspension a boon for shoppers and shop keepers.
“The tax holiday will generate sales, put people to work, save consumers money and reduce the risk that back-to-school shoppers will make purchases in New Hampshire or online,” said Senator Tarr.
Tarr’s original bill establishing a permanent sales tax holiday for one weekend per year was used as the legislative vehicle by the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee to authorize a one year tax reprieve on August 15 and 16 on items less than $2,500. The tax holiday has been offered to consumers annually since 2004 with one exception in 2009.
Senator Tarr presented the Senate with several amendments; one would extend the tax break on a permanent basis, another would set a three year extension of the holiday followed by a sunset in 2018.
“The sales tax holiday is a limited but effective way to give families some modest relief from a sales tax that should be reduced from its current rate for lasting benefits every day. Until that can be advanced, the measure approved today by the Senate will help consumers, prevent sales from migrating out of Massachusetts and to the Internet, and boost the economy through increased employment and business investment,” said Tarr.
Advocates for the August tax free weekend, including Senators Eileen Donohue (D –Lowell) and Donald Humason (R – Westfield), said that the overall impact for consumers would be a net plus.
Retailers Association of Massachusetts reports that the retail sector employs an addition 627 workers as a result of the tax holiday. They say that consumer spending rises in Massachusetts during the tax holiday and reduces sales that might otherwise migrate to New Hampshire or online. According to a recent Beacon Hill Institute survey, 72% of respondents say they are more likely to shop nearby and keep spending local instead of buying online or in New Hampshire.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Time to Act on the Sales Tax Free Holiday Weekend

My office distributed the following press release regarding the tax free weekend bill today.

Boston- With the Legislature prepared to follow a planned month long break from formal sessions, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) wants to make certain that consumers and retailers have an opportunity to engage in a weekend free of state sales tax.

The Senate adopted legislation, sponsored by Senator Tarr, designates August 15 and 16 for suspension of the collection of sales tax on items less than $2,500.

 “We know that the Sales Tax Holiday will put people to work, save consumers money, and generate economic activity during a traditionally slow period,” said Senator Tarr. “In simple terms, this is a win-win-win situation and we should make certain that we deliver this bill to the Governor’s desk.”

Retailers report that the retail sector employs 17% of all workers in the state and that the tax holiday generates additional work opportunities, increased staff income, and enhanced numbers of buyers. They say that consumer spending rises in Massachusetts during the tax holiday and dampens sales that might otherwise migrate to New Hampshire or online. The Senate adopted the tax holiday bill on July 15. The legislation is now pending before the House of Representatives.



Media Alert: Tonight on New England Cable News

I will join Kelly Bates, host of New England Cable News Broadside show, and Representative Straus to talk about the collapse of the Boston 2024 Olympics. Tune in at 6 PM.


Monday, July 27, 2015

US Olympic Committee and Boston 2024 Withdraw Bid

Boston– Today, State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) issued the following statement regarding the mutual decision of the United States Olympic Committee and Boston 2024 to withdraw Boston’s proposal to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024:

Given all of the involved circumstances, today’s decision to withdraw the bid by Boston 2024 to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games nine years from now represents prudence, statesmanship, and responsibility to the citizens of Boston and our Commonwealth.

The fact that the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee viewed the campaign by Boston 2024 and its partners to be competitive and worthy of consideration reaffirms the greatness of our state and its capital city, and reflects the tremendous effort produced by those seeking to bring the Olympics to Massachusetts. While that effort has come to a close, it will certainly have continuing benefits.

Lasting far beyond the excitement caused by the idea of the Olympics and Paralympics possibly coming to the Bay State will be the way that idea has caused us to think and re-think just how together we can best utilize our strategic resources to grow the economy, improve transportation, produce more workforce housing, and make a great quality of life even better.

The Olympics and Paralympics could not, and should not have, come to Boston and the Commonwealth with a financial burden for our citizens and taxpayers, and the possibility of that burden is now gone. Yet, what remains is our understanding and reconfirmation of the fact that we live in a great state with a world-class capital, and what endures is our responsibility to carry them to new heights.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Senate Approves Tarr Beachgoer Protection System

“Caleigh’s Bill” Enhances Safety With Uniform Flag Warning Standard

Boston- Today, the Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), intended to enhance the safety of millions of swimmers attracted to public beaches by summer heat through the establishment of a color-coded flag system. Tarr filed the legislation, known as “Caleigh’s Bill”, following the tragic loss of Caleigh Harrison, a two-year old Gloucester girl, who is believed to have been swept out to sea while on Rockport’s Long Beach in April 2012.
“The memory of Caleigh’s disappearance will live with all of us for a very long time; her family’s loss is a great tragedy and an inspiration for us to act,” said Tarr.  “Her uncle, David Harrison, spurred our legislative efforts when he learned about the uniformity of water warning systems in other states and countries.  In adopting this bill, Massachusetts will promote greater awareness of the potential dangers that the ocean can present so that we can protect lives and enhance enjoyment of our coastline.”
Senate Bill 1956, a bill creating uniform beach warnings, co-sponsored by Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Senators Vinny deMacedo, and Donald F. Humason will:

·         Require the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to develop a uniform warning and safety flag program to be used at all public beaches maintained by DCR, by providing a uniform size, shape, color, and definition for each warning and safety flag,

·         Allow a municipality to adopt the uniform flag warning and safety program by requiring a vote by a city council, town council, or town meeting,

·         Create a water quality procedure that ensures timely and accurate updates.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rockport Navy Weekend

Each July, the coastal town of Rockport hosts the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sail Training Squadron Navy Committee on Rockport Navy Weekend.  This event is ably hosted by the Rockport Navy Committee (RocNavCom) and the town of Rockport, with the assistance of many volunteers and families that host midshipmen.

This year, the Naval Academy midshipmen and their advisors were joined by sailors from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, the USS Constitution, and the Navy Band from Newport, R.I.
The sailors and midshipmen participated in a kickball game with Rockport children, a softball game, and a benefit pancake breakfast.  On Saturday and Sunday, a uniformed gun team gave demonstrations of a 5,800 pound 1812 USS Constitution replica long gun.

Once again this year I had the opportunity to meet with the midshipmen, the Navy personnel, host families, committee members and volunteers, and to thank them for providing us with a tremendous opportunity to learn about each other, while also thanking those serving in the Navy for their service to our nation.
I hope you will consider joining us next year for some or all of the events that make this a very special weekend.  To learn more about the committee and its work, please visit  Posted below are some photos I captured of Sunday’s activities at the Sandy Bay Yacht Club.



Monday, July 20, 2015

A Wall That Heals

Thousands of visitors came to Gloucester recently to see The Wall That Heals, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  The Wall That Heals was greeted at the Massachusetts state line, and given a motorcycle escort, by members of the State Police, Gloucester Police and many non-profit veteran rider organizations.

A public ceremony was well attended and Governor Baker offered moving remarks about the sacrifice of our veterans and their families. The Wall That Heals gave many of us an opportunity to honor those who were involved in the war and to help give comfort to those still wounded by painful memories.

This memorial, which serves as an invitation for public examination, makes the enormity of loss so visible that it also inspires private reflection.  I had several other opportunities to experience that reflection, by day reading the names inscribed on the wall, and at midnight I returned; even at this hour others were there in quiet contemplation. Some left personal items, others left tears, but I am sure all of us left feeling better for the opportunity to honor our dead.

Thanks are due to the United Veterans Council of Gloucester, the Gloucester Veterans Service office, the many volunteers (pictured below), and public officials who made it possible for the Wall That Heals to be with us.  Here is a link to The Wall That Heals Website  so that you can learn more about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tarr Priorities Reflected in State Budget

Governor Baker’s Approval Expected by Saturday

Boston- In addition to advancing several policy initiatives with state-wide implication in the $38.1 billion annual state budget, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) notes that, upon Governor Baker’s signature, our region is slated to receive substantial support across an array of needs.

Some regional budget highlights championed by Tarr include:
  • $75,000.00 for the Grace Center in Gloucester, which serves individuals dependent on shelter housing with a wide array of programming and support services.
  • $120,000 for the North Shore Health Project’s Hepatitis C program.
  • $50,000 for skills training to be conducted by the Gloucester Marine Genomics Academy. These funds will provide training for those seeking to enter the marine sciences and biotechnology fields, building on the success of the Gloucester Marine Genomics institute.
  • $100,000 for an opiate diversion and treatment program in Gloucester and potentially two other communities.
  • $20,000 in funding to assist the town of Rockport in further exploring the creation of dockage and other facilities through a 600 foot extension of Granite Pier and other changes in the harbor.
  • $300,000 to fund a Buy Local Seafood program including locally harvested seafood.
  • $50,000 to continue a phragmites mitigation plan in marshes between Gloucester and Salisbury.
  • $25,000 to conduct research by the University of Massachusetts Extension program relative to honey bee mortality, as well as to provide general support and make recommendations on preventing hive loss to the apiary inspection program, county beekeeping associations and statewide pollinator stewardship efforts.
  • $100,000 for a Great Marsh green crab trapping program.
  • $15,000 for a North Reading Safety Grant for the Community Impact Team’s efforts in community safety.

The budget was given final approval by the House and Senate on July 8th, Governor Baker has until Saturday the 18th for his final approval of the budget document. Gubernatorial vetoes can only be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate.



Boston- The prospect of a state sales tax holiday became a major step closer yesterday as the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies reported favorably legislation filed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) to provide such tax relief. Although Tarr’s original bill established a permanent sales tax holiday for one weekend per year, the committee has redrafted the bill to authorize a single tax reprieve on August 15 and 16 of 2015.

 “Certainly there is more work to do on the front of sales tax relief, but achieving a holiday this year is important for consumers, retailers and our economy,” said Tarr. He added that “Now we must act quickly as a legislature to deliver important sales tax relief, particularly to families who will soon be focused on purchasing needed school supplies within limited budgets.” 

 Tarr’s bill, S. 236, was co-sponsored by Senators Viriato deMacedo (R-Plymouth), Donald F. Humason, Jr. (R-Westfield), James Timilty (D-Walpole) and Representative Mathew Muratore (R-Plymouth). The bill was reported favorably for consideration to the House of Representatives and should it be approved there, it would next move to the Senate, and, if successful, ultimately to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ready to Create a Sales Tax Holiday Weekend

For nine of the previous ten years, Massachusetts shoppers have come to benefit from a weekend of shopping for back to school needs, appliances, furniture and other items without having to pay a 6.25% state sales tax. Now is the time for the state Legislature to again create a special weekend in August for consumers, and retailers to have the advantages of sales tax relief.

In January, I filed legislation, Senate Bill 236, an act relative to a permanent annual sales tax holiday, which will establish a permanent tax holiday weekend, each and every year, to be held in mid-August. Additionally, I am a sponsor of legislation that will put in place a tax free weekend for 2015. With August fast approaching, the time to act on these bills is quickly drawing near.

While shoppers like saving money, retailers also appreciate the opportunity to offer special savings to consumers at a time of the year when shopping volume tends to be reduced. Store managers tell us that they need to know the date for a tax holiday with some advanced notice in order to prepare for sales, advertise, and make certain that they can secure inventory to supply what their customers need. We can help provide an economic summer spark.  

The House and the Senate can take action on my bill and the others, but we will need to act soon. Fortunately, several of my colleagues recognize that their constituents want the matter decided quickly. If you think that a tax free weekend deserves a spot on your calendar, let your legislators know. With your support we can move legislation to Governor Baker's desk for his signature.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Senators Gobi and Tarr Announce Funding for Buy Local Projects in FY16 Budget

BOSTON – State Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer) is happy to announce that she and her colleagues enacted the fiscal year 2016 budget on Wednesday. Included in the spending bill is $300,000 in funding for Buy Local efforts in the Commonwealth. Senator Gobi worked with Senator Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester) to pass an amendment during Senate debate that includes funding for efforts in Central, Western, Northeastern and Southern Massachusetts and also includes new language providing for locally harvested seafood to be included.

“Getting fresh produce from the farm to table is much easier with funding to provide more opportunities for farmers to get the food to consumers,” said Senator Gobi. “The Buy Local effort is going strong and I am proud to be a supporter.” “Purchasing locally produced fruit, vegetables, other produce and seafood is not only a great way to help the local and state economies, it also gives a real boost to small businesses that are critical to our quality of life, and it promotes a healthy diet. This modest investment of state funds will yield many, many benefits.”

“Purchasing locally produced fruit, vegetables, other produce and seafood is not only a great way to help the local and state economies, it also gives a real boost to small businesses that are critical to our quality of life, and it promotes a healthy diet. This modest investment of state funds will yield many, many benefits,” said Tarr. 

Tarr recognized the potential benifit of adding seafood to the Buy Local program, coupled with state funding, might have on the fishing industry. "Including seafood in this effort will promote the efforts of our fishermen to survive in the face of many challenges and hopefully increase awareness of one of our state's best protein resources."

Sen. Gobi has long advocated for local agricultural initiatives as the current Senate Chair of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee and as House Chair of the Committee in the previous two legislative sessions. 


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Time Capsule Re-Depositing Ceremony

On July 4th 1795, Paul Revere as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, assisted Governor Samuel Adams in placing the original time capsule in the State House cornerstone. The original contents consisted of George Washington medals and coins dating back to the 1600s. In 1855 the time capsule resurfaced during construction. The original items were placed in an improved case along with newspapers and coins from the 1800’s. During construction on the State House in late 2014 it was re-discovered, and its excavation was carefully overseen by the Museum of Fine Arts.


 Two hundred-twenty years after it’s original placement, on June 17th, 2015 Governor Charlie Baker and Grand Master Harvey J. Waugh placed the new time capsule in the State House cornerstone. The original relics as well as coins printed in 2015 were put in an air-tight stainless steel box. The placement ceremony was preceded by the marching of twelve hundred- freemasons starting at the Grand Lodge of Masons on Tremont St, and ending at the front of the State House. A silver plaque was made commemorating the ceremony, engraved with the names of Baker and Waugh as well as other top officials. Wine, Corn, and Oil were poured atop the cornerstone symbolizing nourishment, refreshment, and joy, as Waugh and other Grand Masonic Lodge Officers performed a traditional ceremony before the capsule was laid. History was made this day as the corner-stone was set for the third and perhaps final time.


MBTA Fares Not Always Collected

I-Team Correspondent Lauren Leamanczyk of WBZ-TV News spoke with me about lax MBTA fare collections that could be costing taxpayers.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

State Budget Reflects Senate Republican Caucus Policy Initiatives

MBTA Reform, Olympic Games Spending Freeze & Insurance Surcharge

Boston-   Key policy reforms initiated by the Senate Republican Caucus are contained in the Fiscal Year 2016 annual state budget now moving to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.
Major reform elements included in the final version of the budget are expected to produce a sweeping overhaul of the troubled MBTA.  In February, as winter storms continued to expose management and maintenance gaps, members of the Senate Republican caucus filed legislation to move the failing agency under the auspices of a Fiscal Control and Management Board, a change which would create a stronger line of accountability to Governor Charlie Baker.  The Senate, in May, ultimately unanimously approved the reform plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). Bi-partisan support, following collaboration with Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Tom McGee, grew into a unanimous vote of the Senate.

“For far too long, the management at the T allowed the system to fail, a grave disservice to their riders, taxpayers, and our economy.  By adopting the amendment with bi-partisan support, the Senate created momentum to the idea of giving Governor Baker the tools he needs to begin to end the hardship that the T has generated, pursue greater efficiencies, and restore faith with those who pay the bills,” said Senator Tarr.
Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth), the Senate Republican member of the budget negotiating committee added, “We were honored to share what we believe is a common sense approach to governing. We lived within our fiscal means, we tackled challenging issues by giving the Administration the tools necessary to govern effectively and we address the most significant challenges that we as a Commonwealth face.”
Components of the MBTA control board include:
  • Securing financial and performance stability of the MBTA;
  • Implementing uniform budget and planning guidelines and procedures for all departments;
  • MBTA fare protections for riders;
  • Inspector General required to review service and procurement contracts;
  • Executing capital budgets and borrowing authorizations to finance or refinance any debt;
  • Maintaining authority to appoint, remove, supervise, and control all MBTA employees and personnel matters;
  • Developing a long range plan for MBTA financial and structural sustainability; and
  • Accountability measures including requiring the filing of a quarterly report to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means detailing revenues and expenses.
In addition to the control board, the final budget includes targeted relief from an anti-privatization law that has obstructed savings and reform.  A temporary suspension of the so-called Pacheco law is expected to provide the MBTA with project and maintenance savings and greater program efficiencies otherwise not available. Independent budget and policy experts have suggested that the Pacheco law has resulted in added costs of hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I am happy to see that the Conference Committee included the significant MBTA reform advocated for by Senate Republican Caucus in our final budget proposal. The eleven cities and towns I represent in the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District will benefit greatly from the establishment of the control board and contract oversight by the Inspector General,” said Donald Humason (R-Westfield). “Assuring that cost reducing measures and contract  evaluations are performed will help to put an end to what has been years of wasteful spending that impacts residents across the Commonwealth—including Western Massachusetts.”
Senate Minority Leader Tarr also successfully advocated for the inclusion of legislation he authored to assure that no state agency or department spends any state funds connected to the 2024 Olympic Games in Boston unless a special act of the Legislature is signed into law by Governor Baker.
“Inclusion of our amendment ensures that the Legislature and Governor, as responsible stewards of the Commonwealth’s resources, are putting taxpayer’s interests and needs first,” said Tarr.
The conference committee included the legislation, which received support from a bi-partisan group of Senate co-sponsors, to provide greater oversight on the use of state money as the International Olympic Committee considers which city will be awarded the games. Under the plan, money can only be spent for due diligence and analysis of Boston 2024 organizer’s plans.

“This final budget represents a victory for not only Senate Republicans and the Baker Administration; it is a victory for the people of Massachusetts. Major reforms and taxpayer protections, from the Pacheco law freeze at the MBTA to the continuance of the income tax reduction to 5%, were included as well as my local priorities for the towns I represent. I’m proud to vote for the budget,” said Ryan Fattman, (R Webster).
Tarr also received support by the committee when it accepted his plan to shield motorists from costly insurance surcharges for failing to use headlights when foul weather requires they turn their windshield wipers on.  Under the Tarr proposal, the $5 moving violation will no longer trigger a six year auto insurance surcharge currently included in state law. 

“Our goal is to enhance public safety.  We shouldn’t be penalizing drivers by spiking their car insurance bill year after year,” said Tarr.  “The Senate Republican Caucus took action in the Senate version of the budget to strike the new law and restore commons sense; the motoring public needs to know that our members are on their side.”

“The budget proposal put forward here today is reflective of not just the priorities of the Senate, but the priorities of the people of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Ross (R-Wrentham). “I am proud of the hard work of this body in crafting a budget that implements necessary reforms, invests in essential programs, and puts our hardworking taxpayers first.”

The conference committee did not include the Senate backed freeze of the Income Tax rate nor a tax increase on flavored tobacco.  Following expected approval by the full House and Senate, the budget will next go to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker for his approval.