Showing posts with label Fair Share Act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fair Share Act. Show all posts

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Legislature Advances Fair Share Act to 2022 Statewide Ballot

Legislature Advances Fair Share Act to 2022 Statewide Ballot

Proposed constitutional amendment would fund transportation and education investments

At a Joint Session of the Massachusetts Legislature, members of the House and Senate on Wednesday held a Constitutional Convention where they advanced an amendment to the state Constitution to provide greater investments in education and transportation funding.

The Amendment, which now goes before the people of the Commonwealth for a vote in 2022, establishes a four percent tax on annual taxable income in excess of $1 million. The revenue generated, estimated by the Department of Revenue to be as much as $2.2 billion annually, would fund repair and maintenance projects for roads, bridges or public transportation as well as funding for public education, including support for early education and childcare and public higher education.

"As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and prepare for the Commonwealth's long-term success, we must be bold as we strive to create the future we want to see," said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "I'm thrilled the Fair Share Amendment has advanced, moving us one step closer to being able to make the critical investments in transportation and education that the public wants and deserves."

"Massachusetts has a bright future ahead of it and the House of Representatives is committed to a continued focus on education and transportation investments," said House Speaker Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy). "Today's vote allows the Fair Share Amendment to be placed on the ballot and put before the people for a vote. This measure is one step in a multi-pronged strategy to make our Commonwealth a more equitable place to live, work and raise a family."

"When the Fair Share Amendment was first introduced in 2015, there were about 15,000 Massachusetts residents earning over $1 million a year," said Representative James O'Day (D-West Boylston), the lead House sponsor of the constitutional amendment. "Now in 2021, there are about 18,000 residents earning over $1 million a year. Clearly, there are millionaires and billionaires who can afford to pay their fair share in taxes, which will support our neighbors and local communities with investments in public education and transportation. Thank you to Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka for prioritizing the Fair Share Amendment so early in the session." 

"The Fair Share Amendment once again received strong support from legislators and, in public polling, typically receives support from more than 70% of voters in Massachusetts," said Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), the lead Senate sponsor of the proposal. "The reason it is so popular is that most people recognize that our wealthiest residents can afford to pay a bit more in taxes to fund investments in public education and improving our transportation infrastructure that will grow our economy, expand opportunity, and make our Commonwealth more just and equitable for all."

Should voters approve the ballot measure, the income level would be adjusted annually to reflect increases in the cost of living by the same method used to determine federal income tax brackets. This would ensure that, over time, the additional four percent tax would continue to apply only to the highest earning individuals in the Commonwealth. The tax would apply to all tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2023. 

The legislature must approve a constitutional amendment in two consecutive joint sessions before the question appears on the ballot for voter approval. The Fair Share Act was approved for a first time on June 12, 2019, in a 147-48 vote. This week's June 9, 2021, vote of 159-41 ensures the proposal will appear on the November 2022 statewide ballot.

Boston Globe coverage (subscription may be required)


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

CommonWealth Magazine: 2 views on the Fair Share Amendment

 

"THE FAIR SHARE AMENDMENT — which would assess an additional tax of four percentage points on annual taxable income above $1 million and invest the proceeds in transportation and public education — has been discussed and debated for many years. It has been voted on three times in previous Constitutional Conventions convened by the Legislature, and has received strong support every time. In public polling, this proposal typically receives support from more than 70 percent of voters in Massachusetts. 
Together with our colleagues in the Legislature, we will again take up the Fair Share Amendment at Wednesday’s Constitutional Convention."
Continue reading the article online

"AS IT MEETS in a constitutional convention on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Legislature has another opportunity to approve the so-called  millionaire’s tax, paving the way for the measure to appear on the November 2022 ballot.

This latest campaign to make the state’s flat tax into a graduated income tax would impose a 4 percent tax surcharge on incomes of $1 million and more. Six past efforts to impose a similar graduated income tax scheme have failed at the ballot box and, more recently, the state’s highest court rejected it as “unconstitutional.”
Continue reading the article online

Friday, June 4, 2021

Senate President Spilka and Speaker Mariano on the Fair Share Amendment and Joint Session, Weds Jun 9

Statement from Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano:

"As Massachusetts recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we prepare for our future, we have a unique opportunity to move towards a Commonwealth that truly works for all residents. 
To that end, the Legislature will be holding a Joint Session on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 with the intent of voting on the Fair Share Amendment. This will allow the measure to be placed on the ballot and put before the people for a vote. 
We stand with the residents of Massachusetts in exploring new ways to increase revenue for the state as we envision and invest in an equitable and hopeful future for the Commonwealth."

On background: The Legislature advanced the Fair Share Amendment back in June 2019. A second vote is needed for it to be placed on the November 2022 ballot.

Language: Proposal for Constitutional Amendment S.5 (malegislature.gov)

Boston Globe coverage (subscription maybe required)

Link to Joint Session scheduled for Weds, Jun 9