Doug Howgate, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, stopped short of offering a surtax revenue projection in his testimony, citing a lack of information so far and the inherent volatility of the metric. The full impact of the surtax may not be realized until April 2024, when most surtax revenues will be collected, Howgate said.
Howgate recommended the state comptroller certify tax revenues in order to provide a transparent number to the public. Lawmakers should also deposit those revenues into a separate trust, Howgate said, with half earmarked for transportation and the other half for education.
“In ‘23, we would strongly recommend not using any surtax revenues for the remainder of this fiscal year,” Howgate said. “We’re halfway through it, the budget situation appears OK, you don’t have a transparent sense of the surtax revenues collected. We think that it does not make sense to use those revenues for the next six months.”
In fiscal 2024, by contrast, Howgate said lawmakers should establish a revenue cap to insulate the budget from the surtax’s volatility.