Uh-Oh: The House May Need to Vote on Health Care (Again!)

Angie Massey
May 19, 2017

Residential customers would pay $2.25 per month on each bill and commercial customers $10 a month.

The state general fund can not handle the stress of K-12 funding, particularly in years when there is a dip in the economy, Denning said. "So I am going to look into it", said Denham, a member of the party's vote-counting team.

"I would rather do that than raise the food tax", Boley said. Under the plan, the state could take in $30 million from collecting sales tax from online retailers on MA sales.

The goal of the bill is to provide increased funding for the General Revenue Fund by imposing a severance tax on the privilege of producing coal at graduated rates; increasing the rate of the consumers sales and service tax and use tax to 6.85 percent; imposing sales and use taxes on telecommunication services and ancillary telecommunication services, imposing sales and use taxes on sales of digital code and digital products; clarifying that services of professional employer organizations are exempt from tax; exempting military retirement from personal income tax; decreasing rates of personal income tax for taxable years; and providing for phase-out of personal income tax over period of years; increasing the credits against personal and corporation net income taxes for qualified rehabilitation expenditures; and providing rules for claiming credit and for disallowance of credit, according to a summary of the original bill from the Legislature. It does not identify a specific revenue stream beyond the statewide 20 mills on property owners.

The Senate budget also allows a "fair share" assessment on businesses to help offset rising state Medicaid costs.

The action came on the sixth day of a special legislative session called by Gov. Jim Justice to set a general fund budget for fiscal year 2018.

"I am on the whip team and we have a lot of conversations, but we have not had that one". He thought the House school finance formula would have been finished by early April.

The news that Paul Ryan was holding onto the bill before sending it to the Senate surprised a number of Republican representatives.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, said in a statement: "As the public heat continues to rise, more and more members are getting scorched for walking the plank for a bill that has no chance of success in the Senate" or may have to be amended.

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She acknowledged she is asking lawmakers to do a hard thing, but she said sales tax exemptions have continued to increase. The request was denied. It zeroed in on the one-quarter of students who were not at expected reading and math levels.

Lawmakers need to have a new budget in place by June 30 to keep state government running after the current budget runs out. Yesterday's Senate Finance committee meeting was no different.

Republicans' hurried efforts to get the health care bill passed as soon as it garnered enough votes came with a price tag. They also sent a letter to GOP leaders Tuesday.

The House bill renamed the local option budget the local foundation budget and replaced the cost-of-living weighting with a local excellence budget.

"I do think that whichever way we do it, we have a couple of options", Armstead said.

Also gone in the House version is a tiered system for assessing severance taxes on coal and gas companies, according to Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, a finance committee member.

The Senate committee discussed some minor changes to the House bill and plans on at least two days of testimony. Denning omitted that provision entirely.

The bill would raise the sales tax from 6 percent to 6.85 percent, fractionally less than the previous proposal.

Asked about the potential revenue shortfall, Sen.

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