Gov. Healey Pledges to Expand Tax Deductions for Renters and Other Key Policy Changes

Gov.-elect Maura Healey shakes hands on both sides of the House Chamber’s central aisle as she arrives at her inauguration ceremony Thursday. (Sam Doran/SHNS.)

Colin A. Young, State House News Service

Maura Healey took the oath of office as the 73rd governor of Massachusetts early yesterday afternoon, ascending to the state’s top job after two terms as attorney general and pledging to tackle challenges such as housing, cost of living, transportation and climate change.

“We have untold wealth in Massachusetts. But record public revenue does little good when families can’t pay the rent, or buy a house, or heat their homes or hire child care. Our health system is the envy of the world. Yet our hospitals are desperate for staff,” Healey said in her inaugural remarks, adding, “Our companies are eager to expand, but they can’t find workers with the skills they need. Communities and people are yearning to grow and thrive, but they haven’t been given the tools to do it. This is the greatest state in the union. But people are leaving at some of the highest rates in the country, giving up on the Massachusetts story.”

In addition to being the first woman and first openly gay person elected governor in Massachusetts, Healey’s inauguration makes her the first out lesbian governor to take office in any state in America. She is also the first sitting Massachusetts attorney general elected to the corner office since the AG’s job became an elected, not appointed, office more than a century ago and just the third Democrat elected governor of the Bay State over the last 40 years.

She pledged to create a standalone secretary of housing within her first 100 days; have her administration and finance secretary “identify unused state-owned land and facilities that we can turn into rental housing or homes within one year;” expand tax deductions for renters; propose a “MassReconnect” program to make community college free for people 25 and older without a college degree; increase money for the state university system; appoint a safety chief at the MBTA within 60 days; electrify the state’s public vehicle fleet and put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2030; create a “green bank” to invest in resilient infrastructure and to attract new businesses to Massachusetts; and other measures.

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