• Shannon

Testimony on An Act to provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers

Dear Honorable Chairs Cusack and Hinds: We write today as the Framingham House Delegation in support of H4726, An Act to provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers and S.2659 by a similar name. This bill fills a critical gap to support communities excluded from the federal CARES Act stimulus funds. As you know, many of our constituents received stimulus checks from the federal CARES Act, providing critical financial support in this time of economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, anyone who files their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), was excluded from these benefits. Individuals who file and pay taxes using an ITIN are important contributors to our economy and our communities. Various individuals file utilizing ITINs, including undocumented immigrants. Not only are individuals who file using an ITIN impacted, but their families are impacted as well. Mixed-status families, where one or more family members file with an ITIN, are excluded from receiving these benefits. The City of Framingham is approximately 40% foreign-born, so we have a wide range of mixed-status families. The delegation has received calls and emails from constituents who are U.S. citizens that did not receive stimulus checks from the federal CARES Act, believing rightly that this is patently unfair. This leaves a significant gap of about 57,000 individuals in Massachusetts who have not received any federal stimulus funds, despite the fact that they pay taxes just like you and I. It is important to note that many undocumented immigrants also do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance or SNAP--they are excluded from the programs that are so critical for so many of our constituents. We find families in Framingham relying on mutual aid groups and non-profit organizations for filling in the gaps because of the lack of government support. It is distinctly unfair to these families that contribute valuable tax revenue to the Commonwealth; in one of the top 20 hardest hit municipalities from COVID-19, we are struggling to both contain the virus and re-open our economy. Providing direct economic support to a large number of our residents will increase spending power and prevent mass movement from evictions and foreclosures. To fill that gap, this bill directs the state Department of Revenue to provide a stimulus check to ITIN taxpayers equal to the stimulus checks provided under the CARES Act. It is on us to support our constituents, regardless of their immigration status. Though many of our constituents are struggling financially during this uncertain time, undocumented immigrants are forgotten in the response efforts thus far. This bill takes a critical step to support these taxpaying members of our state, and I respectfully urge a favorable report on this bill. Sincerely, Maria Duaime Robinson, 6th Middlesex Jack Patrick Lewis, 7th Middlesex Carmine L. Gentile, 13th Middlesex

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