Lawmakers could send “millionaire tax” question to voters
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are expected to vote next week to send a proposed “millionaire tax” question to next year’s ballot.
Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano released a statement Thursday saying that the Legislature will hold a joint session Wednesday to vote on what supporters call 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,” the two Democrats said in the joint statement.
The proposed 4% surtax on the portion of an individual’s annual income that exceeds $1 million would generate about $2 billion in revenue and be earmarked for investments in education and transportation, supporters said. The $1 million threshold would be adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases.
In 2019, lawmakers moved the proposed constitutional amendment one step closer to the ballot by approving the measure by a 146-48 vote during a joint session of the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
A second vote is needed for the proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the November 2022 ballot.
The state’s constitution currently requires that all income be taxed at uniform rates. An earlier, similar effort to raise taxes on about 20,000 of the state’s wealthiest residents was knocked off the 2018 ballot after a legal challenge by several business-backed organizations.
The proposal is being pushed by Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of labor unions, community organizations, and religious groups. The organization is planning a dozen rallies across the state this month to promote the amendment.
The business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has urged lawmakers to hold off on voting on the initiative until 2022 to give themselves more time to consider the state’s revolving economic circumstances, weigh the potential negative impacts of the change, and get a better sense of federal tax law changes under consideration by Congress.