Tax Amnesty Plan Could Save Hospital Debt Payment Funds

Then-U.S. Senator John F. Kerry greets Barbara L'Italien and Rep. Brian S. Dempsey at a prior breakfast.

Plans may be in the works by Massachusetts House lawmakers to address a mid-fiscal year budget shortfall, and possibly, lead to the release of $2.4 million intended to defray the City of Haverhill’s annual debt payments on the former Hale Hospital.

According to State House News Service, Rep. Brian S. Dempsey of Haverhill, House Ways And Means Committtee chairman, said the House is planning to push forward a plan this month that may very well incorporate an idea popular with the GOP for a corporate tax amnesty program to try to collect unpaid taxes.

Last month, Governor Deval Patrick placed on hold $2.4 million in state funds the city expected to use to defray debt payments on the former city-owned Hale Hospital.

“The $2.4 million is on hold. Should state revenues improve, it would be restored,” Colleen M. McGonagle, Dempsey's chief of staff , told WHAV.

The proposed two-month amnesty plan would allow businesses to pay overdue taxes without paying a penalty or interest. A similar program this fall netted the state $39 million in back taxes. The amnesty plan is aimed at sparing cuts to local aid money sent to communities by the state.

“The Hale money is not considered local aid,” however, McGonagle said.