A few weeks ago, East Boston Rep Adrian Madaro jumped on board with a progressive piece of legislation known as the ‘Millionaire Tax’ that he helped advance to the November 2022 state ballot.
Madaro said he was ‘proud’ to be one of 159 lawmakers that voted in favor of the Fair Share Amendment for the 2022 ballot.
With only 41 state lawmakers voting against the legislation, Madaro said the time was now to end uniform taxing in Massachusetts. The state’s constitution currently requires all income be taxed at uniform rates.
“In Massachusetts, lower-income earners pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than higher-income earners,” said Madaro. “During the pandemic many people in our community struggled with food and economic insecurity while 18 Massachusetts billionaires grew their wealth by nearly $17 billion. It’s time for millionaires to pay their fair share.”
The Fair Share Amendment would add 4 percent surtax on income earned over $1 million. The first $1 million earned would continue to be taxed at the current rate.
“The revenue generated by this proposal would be used to fund additional investments in equitable and high-quality education, as well as efficient and reliable transportation,” said Madaro. “Even before the pandemic, income inequality threatened the future of our Commonwealth. Our public transportation system, roads, and bridges have been deteriorating despite being critical infrastructure for vital economic activity in the state.”
Additionally, Madaro said, local and state public schools have been deeply inequitable, failing low-income students and students of color.
“The Fair Share Amendment would create a sustainable revenue source to fund these essential resources for all,” he said. “I’m proud to have voted in favor of advancing this amendment so that the people of Massachusetts can have the final say on it next year.”
Some who opposed the amendment said the ballot question, if passed, would only cost the state jobs and push some of the Commonwealth’s wealthiest residents across the border to places like New Hampshire.
A similar ballot question was thrown out by the Supreme Judicial Court in 2018 because it combined state tax and state spending on one state question. The court ruled no more than one citizen initiative can be voted on as part of a single ballot question.
However, with this amendment being put forth by state lawmakers like Rep. Madaro and not as a citizen initiative it is unlikely the Fair Share Amendment will head to the highest court.
The ballot question, which garnered widespread support by Madaro and other lawmakers was being pushed by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition.
“Right now, our economy is working great for those at the very top, but it’s not working for the rest of us,” the group said in a statement. “The Fair Share Amendment simply asks individuals with incomes above a million dollars in a single year to pay a little more to improve our public schools and colleges, and to upgrade our roads, bridges, and public transportation.”