As House lawmakers prepare to vote Wednesday on a $1.6 billion mid-year spending bill, they also have a chance to weigh in on responses to Ukraine’s invasion by Russia, including the divestment of state pension funds and the suspension of the gas tax.
Republican Rep. Spencer Peter Durant’s gas tax suspension proposal (Amendment 38) is among 61 amendments Reps tabled to the supplementary estimates the House plans to consider Wednesday afternoon.
Rising gasoline prices and President Biden’s announcement of a ban on Russian oil and natural gas imports have prompted calls for gasoline tax relief, particularly from Republican gubernatorial candidates. Durant is married to GOP Lieutenant Governor Kate Campanale.
Rep. Kevin Honan, a Democrat from Boston, filed an amendment that would allocate $50 million to the energy assistance program for low-income households. In a letter Tuesday to House Ways and Means president Aaron Michlewitz asking for additional fuel assistance, MASSCAP executive director Joe Diamond said a gallon of home heating oil now costs more than $5, after have risen 68 cents in the past five days and prices are expected to hold. escalation.
The bill released Tuesday by the House Ways and Means Committee includes $10 million to support the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees. A pair of Rep. Ruth Balser’s amendments (23, 24) would make refugee resettlement funds available until June 30, 2023 and specify that they can be used “to provide global support services.”
Minority Leader Brad Jones, who last week led 57 of his colleagues to ask the state pension fund to divest of all funds from Russian companies, has proposed an amendment (18) that would direct Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to take such a step, a move she said she supported but would need legislative authority to execute.
Mirroring a bill introduced by Senate Republicans last week, the amendment would also direct state officials to prevent companies owned, controlled or based in Russia from accessing cash or securities in banks subject to Massachusetts supervision.