Politics

Baker’s proposed budget eyes tax cuts

"The cost of just about everything is going up and these tax breaks would help offset some of those costs for families."

Gov. Charlie Baker Barry Chin/Globe staff

The theme of Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget presentation Wednesday was the idea of keeping more money in the pockets of taxpayers through tax breaks.

“This proposal will help working families keep more of their hard-earned money to pay for needs like childcare and housing,” Baker said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The proposal marks Baker’s final budget as governor. With two terms under his belt, he has decided to not seek re-election.

Under the new, $48.5 billion spending plan, there would be an increase of the cap on tax deductions for renters from $3,000 to $5,000. It would also double the tax credit for homeowners to $2,340 from $1,170.

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Among some of the biggest moves under the new budget, income tax would be eliminated for the 230,000 lowest-paid earners in the state. 

The threshold for taxes would increase to $12,400 for filing single, $18,650 for heads of households, and $24,800 for those filing jointly. Currently, the thresholds are $8,000 for single, $14,400 for heads of household, and $16,400 for those filing jointly, according to State House News Service.

“The cost of just about everything is going up and these tax breaks would help offset some of those costs for families,” Baker said.

Health care costs would also be reduced for an extra 34,000 low-income seniors and disabled adults. The spending plan would drop the tenant’s share through the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program from 40 percent to 30 percent.

The budget also plans investments in helping to combat the opioid epidemic, and money for behavioral health, including a new “centralized” behavioral health phone line that would connect people with the right help when they need it.

The spending plan funds the Student Opportunity Act with $591 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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