Representative Vargas Secures $8.7 Million in Economic Development Earmarks for Haverhill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Mallory Strain | 978-228-1233 | email@example.com
BOSTON – Thursday, July 14, 2022 – The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed a $4.2 billion dollar Economic Development package, which utilizes a combination of budget surplus funds, American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars, and bonds. The plan will make significant investments in downtown revitalization and infrastructure projects, climate projects, and includes tax rebates to mitigate high gas prices. The bill includes a significant $8.7 million dollars for Haverhill, secured by Representative Vargas who serves as the Vice-Chair of the Economic Development Committee. This includes $8,000,000 for the Downtown Merrimack Street Redevelopment project, $400,000 for the Dutton Airfield Redevelopment Project, and $300,000 for downtown economic recovery efforts. This represents the largest earmark allocation that Haverhill has received during Vargas’ tenure.
“This is the largest earmark for Haverhill that we’ve secured during my time in the House and I’m incredibly grateful for the impact this will have in transforming Merrimack St., downtown. In addition to the $8 million in funding to redevelop Merrimack St., the city of Haverhill will also receive $300,000 for local economic recovery efforts and $400,000 for the Dutton Airfield Redevelopment project. These earmarks leverage and attract private investment that will help us ensure that Haverhill’s best days are still ahead” said Representative Vargas, D-Haverhill.
The bill also includes one-time rebates of $250 to taxpayers who file individual returns and $500 for married taxpayers who file joint returns, to be issued before September 30th, 2022. The rebates follow the premium pay bonuses for low-income workers issued earlier this year, and are aimed at middle-income earners.
The bill also makes permanent changes to the tax code to provide economic relief. The House increased the child and dependent care credit from $180 per child to $310 per child, increased the earned income tax credit from 30% to 40% of the federal credit, increased the senior circuit breaker tax credit from $750 to $1,755, increased the rental deduction cap from $3,000 to $4,000, and increased the estate tax threshold from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.
The bill also adopted an amendment to allow the Massachusetts Lottery to sell products online, creating a new revenue stream that in part will be used to fund an Early Education and Care Fund. Up to $200 million in funding for early education could result from this fund. This comes at a critical time as childcare costs have risen significantly in the state. A Commission to study early education and childcare in the state recently released a report with recommendations on how to address the state’s needs on this issue. Representative Vargas, a staunch supporter of efforts to reduce childcare costs, served as the ViceChair of the Early Education and Care Commission.