Party like it’s 1986: Massachusetts residents likely to get $2.5 billion in rebates thanks to old law

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday residents of the commonwealth may soon receive more than $2.5 billion worth of tax rebates due to a state law from 1986.

Baker made the announcement while signing the annual state budget, saying the tax collection revenues from the state met the standard to trigger the law.

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“Based on the performance of our economy and our tax collections for the last fiscal year, we do believe that there will be a significant return to the taxpayers according to existing state law sometime later this year,” Baker said at the ceremony.

The law, passed by voters in 1986, states that if tax revenue growth exceeds that of wage and salary growth, then the excess funds must be given back to the taxpayers. The law has only been triggered once before, in 1987.

The governor’s finance secretary, Michael Heffernan, said the state is looking at how to deliver the rebates to citizens once the auditor finishes an annual report in September.

“We’re looking at what’s the quickest and most efficient way to get that money back to the taxpayer,” Heffernan said.

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The tax rebates triggered from the 1986 law are separate from a bill passed by the state Senate that aims to give citizens a one-time $250 stimulus check. The stimulus check bill has yet to be signed by the governor.

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