An announcement released by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's office late this afternoon stated that Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and Speaker of the House Salvatore F. DiMasi have formally announced the creation of a Study Commission on Corporate Taxation, naming 15 members to review and offer recommendations for streamlining the current tax code.
According to the announcement,
the mandate of the Commission is to study the modernization and simplification of the current business tax laws of the Commonwealth, to promote tax fairness and equity, encourage business growth and innovation, and strengthen the Commonwealth’s global competitiveness. An interim report on legislative recommendations providing revenue for Fiscal Year 2008 will be due by June 15, 2007. A final report on long-term changes to corporate tax laws will be completed by January 1, 2008.
The Commission members include the Secretary of Administration and Finance, the Commissioner of Revenue, the Chairs of the Revenue Committees in the House and Senate, the Senate and House Minority Leaders, and several private sector participants, including former Revenue Commissioner Stephen Kidder and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer.
There had previously been indications that such a commission was in the offing. This observer had been hoping, however, that Governor Patrick would attempt to mobilize his supporters in a direct confrontation with Speaker DiMasi, who has stated his strong opposition to the Governor's proposals to close corporate tax loopholes - partly as a way for the Governor to regain political momentum. At this point, I am not optimistic about the prospects for either the Governor's proposals or his political momentum.