Top House, Senate Democrats agree on COVID-19 relief for mass workers and employers
Massachusetts’ leading Legislative Democrats announced Monday that they have reached an agreement on a COVID-19 take-back bill that aims to help workers and employers.
According to an outline of the deal, it includes measures relating to tax relief for some unemployed workers, paid time off related to COVID-19 and vaccinations, relief from planned increases in unemployment insurance rates. and the elimination of state taxes on Paycheck Protection Program grants.
Senate Speaker Karen Spilka, Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano and the Chairs of Ways and Means Committees, Representative Aaron Michlewitz and Senator Michael Rodrigues, announced the bill in a joint statement, in which they stated that they would seek to pass legislation quickly, but did not present a timetable for action.
The four Democrats said they had agreed on “targeted tax relief for the unemployed whose income falls below 200% of the poverty line,” a waiver of penalties for missed tax payments on unemployment insurance benefits received in 2020, and access to paid time off for workers who need time off because they contract COVID-19, need to be quarantined, or need time off to to get vaccinated.
“Finally, the bill will prevent increases in the unemployment insurance rate schedule for 2021 and 2022, providing employers with the stability and relief needed as the Commonwealth continues to recover,” the statement said. “The agreement also allows the state to borrow, secured by a temporary employer valuation, to ensure the solvency of the UI trust fund.” Besides unemployment insurance relief, helping many small businesses and employers who have received P3 loans stay afloat and save jobs, we have agreed to comply with the current federal tax code to exclude PPP loans canceled from the gross income of small businesses organized as intermediary entities. “
Earlier today, a group of lawmakers, mostly Republicans, joined the Massachusetts Tax Alliance for a press conference calling for swift action to remove state taxes on P3s.
The Chamber is due to meet next Wednesday in informal session: the Senate will then meet in informal session on Thursday.
This story is developing and will be updated.