top of page

Preguntas Frecuentes

  • What is the Fair Share Amendment?
    It's Question 1 on the November ballot, and Massachusetts voters like you can vote on it this year. The very rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us, and Question 1 would tax the very rich slightly more to make our tax system fairer. Question 1 would create a 4% tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million and constitutionally dedicate the funds raised to transportation and public education. This will allow Massachusetts to improve our roads, bridges, schools, and transportation by guaranteeing in the text of the Massachusetts constitution that every dollar raised by the surtax will go to only public education and transportation. And if you don’t make more than $1 million a year, you won’t pay anything more. The Fair Share Amendment will generate $2 billion a year, every year, that is constitutionally dedicated for quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation. Only the wealthiest Massachusetts residents—individuals who earn MORE THAN $1 million per year—will pay more: just 4% on the part of their annual income that is ABOVE $1 million. Over 99% of all Massachusetts taxpayers will not pay a penny more. And we’ll all benefit from better schools, colleges, roads, bridges, and public transportation. It’s a win-win for Massachusetts.
  • Would we really raise $2 billion a year?
    Yes. The state Department of Revenue estimates that the Fair Share Amendment would raise approximately $2 billion a year, entirely from the top 1% of taxpayers.
  • Will the money really go to transportation and public education?
    Yes. Dedicating the funding from Question 1 in the text of the constitution means that the legislature would be constitutionally required to spend this new money on transportation and public education. The state constitution is binding on the legislature, and the Fair Share Amendment creates an ironclad dedication that the funds raised by the amendment must be spent on those two areas. There’s already plenty of willpower to get money to transportation and education: the Student Opportunity Act promises to increase state aid to local school districts by $1.4 billion a year, and a recent transportation bond bill authorized $16 billion in unfunded transportation investments. But in order to make these and other critical investments, we need a reliable, long-term funding source: the Fair Share Amendment.
  • How exactly will the money be spent?
    With $2 billion in new revenue every single year, every community in the state will benefit from the Fair Share Amendment. Specific investment decisions, such as rebuilding a bridge, hiring more teachers or counselors, increasing college scholarship funding, buying electric transit buses, or building new vocational school classrooms, will be made by the state legislature through the annual budget process, or by local cities and towns. When we pass Fair Share, local communities will advocate for their specific funding priorities to make sure that the funding goes where it’s most needed, and we will have more money, every single year, to fund those priorities.
  • Why is a constitutional amendment needed at all?
    The federal government and many other states have graduated income taxes, meaning they tax higher income at higher rates—the more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. This is a fairer system: people who can afford more pay more; people who can’t afford to pay as much don’t. But the Massachusetts constitution only allows income to be taxed at one flat rate, currently 5 percent. This means that under existing law, if Massachusetts attempted to raise the income tax for the very rich, it would also affect low- and middle-income people — working people who already pay their fair share and can’t afford to pay more. It also means that right now, the richest people are paying less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. But Question 1 gets those very rich earners to pay a more equal amount of income in taxes: it makes our tax system more fair. The Fair Share Amendment creates a single additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million—just 4¢ per $1 over their first $1 million. All of the revenue is constitutionally dedicated to investments in transportation and public education. That means Massachusetts will have billions of dollars a year, every year, to improve our roads, bridges, public transit, and schools from pre-K to higher education — just by ensuring the very rich pay their fair share in taxes.
  • Who will pay and how much?
    Anyone with an annual income over $1 million would pay an additional 4¢ per dollar on the part of their annual income that’s above $1 million. For example, if someone’s annual income is $1 million and $1, they’d pay an extra 4¢. If someone’s annual income is $1,100,00, they would pay an additional $4,000. If their annual income is $5 million, they would pay an additional $160,000—or around 3% of their total income for the year. In 2019, there were 21,000 state taxpayers with incomes over $1 million – that’s just 0.6 percent of all households in Massachusetts. It’s more than fair for the richest of taxpayers to pay slightly more.
  • Who won't pay? Will I have to pay?
    If you’re in the 99.4% of Massachusetts residents who make less than $1 million a year, you won’t pay a penny more in taxes. FYI: the average annual salaries for doctors, dentists, lawyers, computer programmers, and even chief executives in Massachusetts are all under $250,000: not even close to the $1 million threshold that would be affected by the Fair Share Amendment. Right now, the rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. With the Fair Share Amendment, over 99% of us won’t pay a penny more, but we will all benefit from investments in transportation and public education—the roads and bridges we all walk and drive on, the schools and colleges we or those in our communities attend, the public transit that keeps our commonwealth connected.
  • Will this tax affect so-called ‘one-time millionaires’ who don’t regularly earn more than a million dollars a year?
    An extremely small percentage of people ever earn more than a million dollars a year in taxable income. Less than 0.7 percent of households will pay this tax. If you are one of the fortunate few who makes over a million dollars in only one year, you'll pay a little extra only in that year. A person who earns $1,100,000 would pay an extra four percent only on the amount over a million – just $4,000 extra. But 90 percent of the revenue from Question 1 would be paid by people with annual incomes over $2 million. And 70 percent would be paid by people who earn more than $5 million! Right now, the super-rich pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, and a few billionaires are spending millions of dollars to keep it that way. This entire argument about "one-time millionaires" is a red herring designed to scare people.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help communities of color?
    For years, Massachusetts’ communities of color have been harmed by inequitable and inadequate access to transportation and public education. School districts in cities, which educate the majority of students of color, have been systematically underfunded for decades. The Student Opportunity Act, designed to repair that underfunding, needs new revenue to be fully implemented. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in high-quality education for all students, reliable transportation infrastructure that links residents to education and job opportunities, and high-quality public higher education that doesn’t bury students in debt. Improving transportation and education is a question of racial justice.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help rural communities?
    Massachusetts’ rural communities have needs that aren’t being met by our existing transportation and public education systems. The way that state education funding is allocated doesn’t adequately account for the high transportation costs in rural school districts. Many such communities also are lower-income and have limited ability to raise additional property taxes to help fund their schools and buses. Annual road funding bills don’t meet the needs of small towns. Hundreds of miles of roads need repaving, and regional transit authorities don’t have the resources to provide adequate service in areas where the population is spread out—even though public transit is often a lifeline for people who are unable to drive due to illness, injury, age, or other reasons. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in the infrastructure that our rural communities need to remain livable and healthy.
  • How would MA’s taxes compare to other states?
    Several other states similar to Massachusetts already tax their wealthiest residents at (or higher than) the rate that would be applied to annual income over $1 million with the Fair Share Amendment: Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, and California. Many studies have found that fair tax systems, where the rich pay their fair share, create healthier economies and better places to live. The investments that are made possible by a fair tax system help create better economic opportunities for residents and a transportation infrastructure that works. These benefits attract and grow businesses in the state. The Fair Share Amendment really is good for everyone.
  • Will $1 million seem like a smaller threshold after many years?
    The Fair Share Amendment will start out applied to incomes over $1 million, and that threshold will be adjusted to rise with inflation so that it continues to affect only the very highest incomes. This is just like other programs that get adjusted annually to account for changes in the cost of living.
  • Would people move to other states to avoid paying their fair share?
    Nope. The truth is, only a very small number of millionaires move to avoid paying more taxes. That’s because very high-income people tend to be embedded in their communities and the local business networks that have created their wealth. They’re not going to uproot their families to avoid an additional 4% tax on just a portion of their income, because when you’re that rich, you can afford to live wherever you want, and let your accountant worry about how much you owe in taxes! States (like CA & NY) with the highest tax rates on million-plus dollar incomes have the most million-dollar income households. This question has been extensively researched and it’s clear: high-income people are actually far less likely to move than low- and middle-income people. One perk of being rich is that people get to live where they want, in places with a high quality of life for them. For many people, this includes places with good schools, reliable transportation systems, parks, libraries—and the other public amenities that the Fair Share Amendment will ensure and improve.
  • Will people have to pay more when they retire because of retirement accounts? Would 401Ks or other retirement accounts be affected?
    Long story short: the account value of savings in a retirement account is never taxed. Pension income from the federal government, the military, state government, or local governments is also tax-free, as is income (also called 'distributions') from a Roth IRA. The total account value of savings in an account such as a 401K or traditional IRA is also never taxed. Since contributions made to401Ksand traditional IRAs are deductible from taxable income, individuals only pay taxes on the annual “distributions” from these retirement accounts—the money they actually withdraw from the accounts each year, not the total value inside the accounts. Distributions are the amounts taken out of these accounts during retirement and which are then “income” for the retiree. Savings that remain in the account are not subject to tax. A retiree would only be impacted by Question 1 if their total personal income in a single year, including any distributions from a 401K or IRA that year, was more than $1 million. For instance, if a retiree’s traditional IRA is valued at $2 million, that $2 million would never be taxed in its entirety. If that individual takes out $150,000 in distributions (aka income) in one year, they would not pay a cent more in taxes with Question 1.
  • Why is it fair for the very rich to pay more?
    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Massachusetts families and small businesses struggled just to get by. Meanwhile, multi-millionaire investors have seen their net worth skyrocket. The handful of billionaires in Massachusetts saw their wealth increase by a total of $17.2 billion during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic alone. Combined, they gained almost $25 billion between March 2020 and May 2022. While the rich keep getting richer, they’re not paying their fair share. For years, the highest-income households in Massachusetts – those in the top 1 percent – have paid a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than any other income group. Right now, people with lower incomes pay more of their income in taxes than people with the highest incomes. That’s not fair. The richest Massachusetts residents can clearly afford to pay a little more to make the big investments we’ve been putting off. We need the Fair Share Amendment to grow our economy and make it work for everyone.
  • Could somebody ever pay because of selling their house?
    The short answer is that almost no one who sells a house will be affected in any way. Last year, less than 1 percent of home sales in the state generated enough of a gain to be affected by Question 1. Just 895 homes, to be exact. That's because it's the gain in value since the house was originally purchased, not the full sales price, that is subject to income tax. Plus, home sellers can take advantage of multiple tax deductions to reduce their income tax burden: Someone selling a home can deduct up to $500,000 from their taxes on the sale of their primary residence. They can also deduct the entire cost of a renovated kitchen, an updated heating system, a new roof, or any other major improvements they made to the home. With those deductions, in order for a home seller to actually have $1 million in taxable personal income from the sale of a home, they would need to sell the home for at least $1.5 million over the price they originally bought it for. Only people selling the very priciest homes in Massachusetts would see their incomes rise enough to pay a single penny more with the Fair Share Amendment.
  • Will this tax hit small business owners who are already struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic?
    That’s a scare tactic, but it’s not true. Question 1 is a tax on personal income over $1 million – business taxes would not increase. It doesn’t matter how much revenue or profit a business has: only business owners or shareholders who earn more than $1 million in personal income in a single year will pay more. Less than 3 percent of small businesses owners in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to Question 1. And with Question 1, every business in Massachusetts will benefit when our communities have better schools and colleges that prepare a well-educated workforce, and a more reliable transportation system that gets employees to work and goods to market. An Example: Donna Donna is the sole-owner of a construction firm with $3 million in annual revenue. The businesses’ costs in a typical year are $2.7 million, including payroll for 25 skilled employees trained at a local vocational school, rent, equipment, and other expenses. The company’s annual profit is $300,000 – which is passed through to Donna as the sole proprietor. She also receives a salary of $220,000 a year that – combined with the net income from the construction company – gives her an annual income of $520,000. Because she earns less than $1 million in personal income, Donna won’t pay any more under the Fair Share Amendment, but she and her business would benefit from the transportation infrastructure it will help fund, and the well-educated students it will help prepare for future jobs.
  • Why do we need this money when the state has a budget surplus and federal aid?
    Question 1 isn’t about one budget, or one economic cycle. There have been economic upturns and downturns before, and there will be again: many experts are warning that we’re headed for a recession soon. Massachusetts can’t hire more teachers and counselors, reduce college tuition and student debt, or commit to the major investments we need in our transportation system with one-time budget surpluses and short-term windfalls. We need sustainable, long-term revenue that doesn't require low- and middle-income families to pay more.
  • How would this affect business that are structured as S-Corporations or other “pass-through” entities?
    The Fair Share Amendment wouldn’t increase any businesses taxes, but opponents of Fair Share are deliberately trying to mislead voters by bringing up concerns about ‘S-Corps’ or other ‘pass-through’ businesses. But less than 3 percent of owners of pass-through entities in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to the Fair Share tax. For tax purposes, some businesses are legally structured as ‘S-Corporations.’ While most corporations pay corporate taxes on their profits and then distribute the profits after taxes to their shareholders, an S-Corporation pays no corporate taxes, and instead directly passes profits to its shareholders in the corporation, after subtracting all the business’ costs. Those profits are then taxed on the shareholder’s personal income taxes. The Fair Share Amendment makes no changes to the basic structure of the tax code. S-Corporation shareholders and owners would continue to pay income taxes only on their share of the business’ profits that are passed through to them, after subtracting all the business’ costs. What matters to determine an individual’s personal income taxes is their share of an S-Corporation’s profits, not the business’ total revenues. Taxpayers with total income of more than $1 million in a single year, including their share of any S-Corporation’s profits, will simply pay a little more – just 4 extra percentage points starting with their second million dollars.
  • Haven’t I heard about the Fair Share Amendment before?
    You might have heard of Fair Share—we’ve been fighting to make the Massachusetts tax system fairer since 2015! The original Fair Share Amendment was a proposed citizens’ amendment to the state constitution, meaning more than 150,000 citizens signed on in support of the amendment to get it on the ballot, and after two consecutive constitutional conventions, it was set to appear on the statewide ballot in November 2018. But then, a corporate-financed lawsuit led by five corporate lobbying organizations led to the original Fair Share Amendment being removed from the ballot on a procedural technicality. But our fight was far from over. Our state constitution gives the people of Massachusetts the right to vote to amend our constitution in two ways: by citizens’ amendment or by legislative amendment. In the legislative amendment process, a legislator introduces a constitutional amendment which must pass two consecutive constitutional conventions to be placed on the statewide ballot. Even the opponents of Fair Share recognize that passing it as a legislative amendment is constitutional, and they’re not challenging whether it can appear on the ballot this year. It’s been a long road to get here, and that’s why it’s so important that we turn out to vote YES on the Fair Share Amendment this November 8.
What is the Fair Share Amendment?

¿Quién pagará? ¿Quién se beneficiará?

Who will pay? Who will benefit?
  • What is the Fair Share Amendment?
    It's Question 1 on the November ballot, and Massachusetts voters like you can vote on it this year. The very rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us, and Question 1 would tax the very rich slightly more to make our tax system fairer. Question 1 would create a 4% tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million and constitutionally dedicate the funds raised to transportation and public education. This will allow Massachusetts to improve our roads, bridges, schools, and transportation by guaranteeing in the text of the Massachusetts constitution that every dollar raised by the surtax will go to only public education and transportation. And if you don’t make more than $1 million a year, you won’t pay anything more. The Fair Share Amendment will generate $2 billion a year, every year, that is constitutionally dedicated for quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation. Only the wealthiest Massachusetts residents—individuals who earn MORE THAN $1 million per year—will pay more: just 4% on the part of their annual income that is ABOVE $1 million. Over 99% of all Massachusetts taxpayers will not pay a penny more. And we’ll all benefit from better schools, colleges, roads, bridges, and public transportation. It’s a win-win for Massachusetts.
  • Would we really raise $2 billion a year?
    Yes. The state Department of Revenue estimates that the Fair Share Amendment would raise approximately $2 billion a year, entirely from the top 1% of taxpayers.
  • Will the money really go to transportation and public education?
    Yes. Dedicating the funding from Question 1 in the text of the constitution means that the legislature would be constitutionally required to spend this new money on transportation and public education. The state constitution is binding on the legislature, and the Fair Share Amendment creates an ironclad dedication that the funds raised by the amendment must be spent on those two areas. There’s already plenty of willpower to get money to transportation and education: the Student Opportunity Act promises to increase state aid to local school districts by $1.4 billion a year, and a recent transportation bond bill authorized $16 billion in unfunded transportation investments. But in order to make these and other critical investments, we need a reliable, long-term funding source: the Fair Share Amendment.
  • How exactly will the money be spent?
    With $2 billion in new revenue every single year, every community in the state will benefit from the Fair Share Amendment. Specific investment decisions, such as rebuilding a bridge, hiring more teachers or counselors, increasing college scholarship funding, buying electric transit buses, or building new vocational school classrooms, will be made by the state legislature through the annual budget process, or by local cities and towns. When we pass Fair Share, local communities will advocate for their specific funding priorities to make sure that the funding goes where it’s most needed, and we will have more money, every single year, to fund those priorities.
  • Why is a constitutional amendment needed at all?
    The federal government and many other states have graduated income taxes, meaning they tax higher income at higher rates—the more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. This is a fairer system: people who can afford more pay more; people who can’t afford to pay as much don’t. But the Massachusetts constitution only allows income to be taxed at one flat rate, currently 5 percent. This means that under existing law, if Massachusetts attempted to raise the income tax for the very rich, it would also affect low- and middle-income people — working people who already pay their fair share and can’t afford to pay more. It also means that right now, the richest people are paying less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. But Question 1 gets those very rich earners to pay a more equal amount of income in taxes: it makes our tax system more fair. The Fair Share Amendment creates a single additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million—just 4¢ per $1 over their first $1 million. All of the revenue is constitutionally dedicated to investments in transportation and public education. That means Massachusetts will have billions of dollars a year, every year, to improve our roads, bridges, public transit, and schools from pre-K to higher education — just by ensuring the very rich pay their fair share in taxes.
  • Who will pay and how much?
    Anyone with an annual income over $1 million would pay an additional 4¢ per dollar on the part of their annual income that’s above $1 million. For example, if someone’s annual income is $1 million and $1, they’d pay an extra 4¢. If someone’s annual income is $1,100,00, they would pay an additional $4,000. If their annual income is $5 million, they would pay an additional $160,000—or around 3% of their total income for the year. In 2019, there were 21,000 state taxpayers with incomes over $1 million – that’s just 0.6 percent of all households in Massachusetts. It’s more than fair for the richest of taxpayers to pay slightly more.
  • Who won't pay? Will I have to pay?
    If you’re in the 99.4% of Massachusetts residents who make less than $1 million a year, you won’t pay a penny more in taxes. FYI: the average annual salaries for doctors, dentists, lawyers, computer programmers, and even chief executives in Massachusetts are all under $250,000: not even close to the $1 million threshold that would be affected by the Fair Share Amendment. Right now, the rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. With the Fair Share Amendment, over 99% of us won’t pay a penny more, but we will all benefit from investments in transportation and public education—the roads and bridges we all walk and drive on, the schools and colleges we or those in our communities attend, the public transit that keeps our commonwealth connected.
  • Will this tax affect so-called ‘one-time millionaires’ who don’t regularly earn more than a million dollars a year?
    An extremely small percentage of people ever earn more than a million dollars a year in taxable income. Less than 0.7 percent of households will pay this tax. If you are one of the fortunate few who makes over a million dollars in only one year, you'll pay a little extra only in that year. A person who earns $1,100,000 would pay an extra four percent only on the amount over a million – just $4,000 extra. But 90 percent of the revenue from Question 1 would be paid by people with annual incomes over $2 million. And 70 percent would be paid by people who earn more than $5 million! Right now, the super-rich pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, and a few billionaires are spending millions of dollars to keep it that way. This entire argument about "one-time millionaires" is a red herring designed to scare people.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help communities of color?
    For years, Massachusetts’ communities of color have been harmed by inequitable and inadequate access to transportation and public education. School districts in cities, which educate the majority of students of color, have been systematically underfunded for decades. The Student Opportunity Act, designed to repair that underfunding, needs new revenue to be fully implemented. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in high-quality education for all students, reliable transportation infrastructure that links residents to education and job opportunities, and high-quality public higher education that doesn’t bury students in debt. Improving transportation and education is a question of racial justice.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help rural communities?
    Massachusetts’ rural communities have needs that aren’t being met by our existing transportation and public education systems. The way that state education funding is allocated doesn’t adequately account for the high transportation costs in rural school districts. Many such communities also are lower-income and have limited ability to raise additional property taxes to help fund their schools and buses. Annual road funding bills don’t meet the needs of small towns. Hundreds of miles of roads need repaving, and regional transit authorities don’t have the resources to provide adequate service in areas where the population is spread out—even though public transit is often a lifeline for people who are unable to drive due to illness, injury, age, or other reasons. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in the infrastructure that our rural communities need to remain livable and healthy.
  • How would MA’s taxes compare to other states?
    Several other states similar to Massachusetts already tax their wealthiest residents at (or higher than) the rate that would be applied to annual income over $1 million with the Fair Share Amendment: Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, and California. Many studies have found that fair tax systems, where the rich pay their fair share, create healthier economies and better places to live. The investments that are made possible by a fair tax system help create better economic opportunities for residents and a transportation infrastructure that works. These benefits attract and grow businesses in the state. The Fair Share Amendment really is good for everyone.
  • Will $1 million seem like a smaller threshold after many years?
    The Fair Share Amendment will start out applied to incomes over $1 million, and that threshold will be adjusted to rise with inflation so that it continues to affect only the very highest incomes. This is just like other programs that get adjusted annually to account for changes in the cost of living.
  • Would people move to other states to avoid paying their fair share?
    Nope. The truth is, only a very small number of millionaires move to avoid paying more taxes. That’s because very high-income people tend to be embedded in their communities and the local business networks that have created their wealth. They’re not going to uproot their families to avoid an additional 4% tax on just a portion of their income, because when you’re that rich, you can afford to live wherever you want, and let your accountant worry about how much you owe in taxes! States (like CA & NY) with the highest tax rates on million-plus dollar incomes have the most million-dollar income households. This question has been extensively researched and it’s clear: high-income people are actually far less likely to move than low- and middle-income people. One perk of being rich is that people get to live where they want, in places with a high quality of life for them. For many people, this includes places with good schools, reliable transportation systems, parks, libraries—and the other public amenities that the Fair Share Amendment will ensure and improve.
  • Will people have to pay more when they retire because of retirement accounts? Would 401Ks or other retirement accounts be affected?
    Long story short: the account value of savings in a retirement account is never taxed. Pension income from the federal government, the military, state government, or local governments is also tax-free, as is income (also called 'distributions') from a Roth IRA. The total account value of savings in an account such as a 401K or traditional IRA is also never taxed. Since contributions made to401Ksand traditional IRAs are deductible from taxable income, individuals only pay taxes on the annual “distributions” from these retirement accounts—the money they actually withdraw from the accounts each year, not the total value inside the accounts. Distributions are the amounts taken out of these accounts during retirement and which are then “income” for the retiree. Savings that remain in the account are not subject to tax. A retiree would only be impacted by Question 1 if their total personal income in a single year, including any distributions from a 401K or IRA that year, was more than $1 million. For instance, if a retiree’s traditional IRA is valued at $2 million, that $2 million would never be taxed in its entirety. If that individual takes out $150,000 in distributions (aka income) in one year, they would not pay a cent more in taxes with Question 1.
  • Why is it fair for the very rich to pay more?
    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Massachusetts families and small businesses struggled just to get by. Meanwhile, multi-millionaire investors have seen their net worth skyrocket. The handful of billionaires in Massachusetts saw their wealth increase by a total of $17.2 billion during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic alone. Combined, they gained almost $25 billion between March 2020 and May 2022. While the rich keep getting richer, they’re not paying their fair share. For years, the highest-income households in Massachusetts – those in the top 1 percent – have paid a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than any other income group. Right now, people with lower incomes pay more of their income in taxes than people with the highest incomes. That’s not fair. The richest Massachusetts residents can clearly afford to pay a little more to make the big investments we’ve been putting off. We need the Fair Share Amendment to grow our economy and make it work for everyone.
  • Could somebody ever pay because of selling their house?
    The short answer is that almost no one who sells a house will be affected in any way. Last year, less than 1 percent of home sales in the state generated enough of a gain to be affected by Question 1. Just 895 homes, to be exact. That's because it's the gain in value since the house was originally purchased, not the full sales price, that is subject to income tax. Plus, home sellers can take advantage of multiple tax deductions to reduce their income tax burden: Someone selling a home can deduct up to $500,000 from their taxes on the sale of their primary residence. They can also deduct the entire cost of a renovated kitchen, an updated heating system, a new roof, or any other major improvements they made to the home. With those deductions, in order for a home seller to actually have $1 million in taxable personal income from the sale of a home, they would need to sell the home for at least $1.5 million over the price they originally bought it for. Only people selling the very priciest homes in Massachusetts would see their incomes rise enough to pay a single penny more with the Fair Share Amendment.
  • Will this tax hit small business owners who are already struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic?
    That’s a scare tactic, but it’s not true. Question 1 is a tax on personal income over $1 million – business taxes would not increase. It doesn’t matter how much revenue or profit a business has: only business owners or shareholders who earn more than $1 million in personal income in a single year will pay more. Less than 3 percent of small businesses owners in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to Question 1. And with Question 1, every business in Massachusetts will benefit when our communities have better schools and colleges that prepare a well-educated workforce, and a more reliable transportation system that gets employees to work and goods to market. An Example: Donna Donna is the sole-owner of a construction firm with $3 million in annual revenue. The businesses’ costs in a typical year are $2.7 million, including payroll for 25 skilled employees trained at a local vocational school, rent, equipment, and other expenses. The company’s annual profit is $300,000 – which is passed through to Donna as the sole proprietor. She also receives a salary of $220,000 a year that – combined with the net income from the construction company – gives her an annual income of $520,000. Because she earns less than $1 million in personal income, Donna won’t pay any more under the Fair Share Amendment, but she and her business would benefit from the transportation infrastructure it will help fund, and the well-educated students it will help prepare for future jobs.
  • Why do we need this money when the state has a budget surplus and federal aid?
    Question 1 isn’t about one budget, or one economic cycle. There have been economic upturns and downturns before, and there will be again: many experts are warning that we’re headed for a recession soon. Massachusetts can’t hire more teachers and counselors, reduce college tuition and student debt, or commit to the major investments we need in our transportation system with one-time budget surpluses and short-term windfalls. We need sustainable, long-term revenue that doesn't require low- and middle-income families to pay more.
  • How would this affect business that are structured as S-Corporations or other “pass-through” entities?
    The Fair Share Amendment wouldn’t increase any businesses taxes, but opponents of Fair Share are deliberately trying to mislead voters by bringing up concerns about ‘S-Corps’ or other ‘pass-through’ businesses. But less than 3 percent of owners of pass-through entities in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to the Fair Share tax. For tax purposes, some businesses are legally structured as ‘S-Corporations.’ While most corporations pay corporate taxes on their profits and then distribute the profits after taxes to their shareholders, an S-Corporation pays no corporate taxes, and instead directly passes profits to its shareholders in the corporation, after subtracting all the business’ costs. Those profits are then taxed on the shareholder’s personal income taxes. The Fair Share Amendment makes no changes to the basic structure of the tax code. S-Corporation shareholders and owners would continue to pay income taxes only on their share of the business’ profits that are passed through to them, after subtracting all the business’ costs. What matters to determine an individual’s personal income taxes is their share of an S-Corporation’s profits, not the business’ total revenues. Taxpayers with total income of more than $1 million in a single year, including their share of any S-Corporation’s profits, will simply pay a little more – just 4 extra percentage points starting with their second million dollars.
  • Haven’t I heard about the Fair Share Amendment before?
    You might have heard of Fair Share—we’ve been fighting to make the Massachusetts tax system fairer since 2015! The original Fair Share Amendment was a proposed citizens’ amendment to the state constitution, meaning more than 150,000 citizens signed on in support of the amendment to get it on the ballot, and after two consecutive constitutional conventions, it was set to appear on the statewide ballot in November 2018. But then, a corporate-financed lawsuit led by five corporate lobbying organizations led to the original Fair Share Amendment being removed from the ballot on a procedural technicality. But our fight was far from over. Our state constitution gives the people of Massachusetts the right to vote to amend our constitution in two ways: by citizens’ amendment or by legislative amendment. In the legislative amendment process, a legislator introduces a constitutional amendment which must pass two consecutive constitutional conventions to be placed on the statewide ballot. Even the opponents of Fair Share recognize that passing it as a legislative amendment is constitutional, and they’re not challenging whether it can appear on the ballot this year. It’s been a long road to get here, and that’s why it’s so important that we turn out to vote YES on the Fair Share Amendment this November 8.
​Why Question 1 is fair:

¿Por qué es justa la Enmienda de la Contribución Justa?

  • What is the Fair Share Amendment?
    It's Question 1 on the November ballot, and Massachusetts voters like you can vote on it this year. The very rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us, and Question 1 would tax the very rich slightly more to make our tax system fairer. Question 1 would create a 4% tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million and constitutionally dedicate the funds raised to transportation and public education. This will allow Massachusetts to improve our roads, bridges, schools, and transportation by guaranteeing in the text of the Massachusetts constitution that every dollar raised by the surtax will go to only public education and transportation. And if you don’t make more than $1 million a year, you won’t pay anything more. The Fair Share Amendment will generate $2 billion a year, every year, that is constitutionally dedicated for quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation. Only the wealthiest Massachusetts residents—individuals who earn MORE THAN $1 million per year—will pay more: just 4% on the part of their annual income that is ABOVE $1 million. Over 99% of all Massachusetts taxpayers will not pay a penny more. And we’ll all benefit from better schools, colleges, roads, bridges, and public transportation. It’s a win-win for Massachusetts.
  • Would we really raise $2 billion a year?
    Yes. The state Department of Revenue estimates that the Fair Share Amendment would raise approximately $2 billion a year, entirely from the top 1% of taxpayers.
  • Will the money really go to transportation and public education?
    Yes. Dedicating the funding from Question 1 in the text of the constitution means that the legislature would be constitutionally required to spend this new money on transportation and public education. The state constitution is binding on the legislature, and the Fair Share Amendment creates an ironclad dedication that the funds raised by the amendment must be spent on those two areas. There’s already plenty of willpower to get money to transportation and education: the Student Opportunity Act promises to increase state aid to local school districts by $1.4 billion a year, and a recent transportation bond bill authorized $16 billion in unfunded transportation investments. But in order to make these and other critical investments, we need a reliable, long-term funding source: the Fair Share Amendment.
  • How exactly will the money be spent?
    With $2 billion in new revenue every single year, every community in the state will benefit from the Fair Share Amendment. Specific investment decisions, such as rebuilding a bridge, hiring more teachers or counselors, increasing college scholarship funding, buying electric transit buses, or building new vocational school classrooms, will be made by the state legislature through the annual budget process, or by local cities and towns. When we pass Fair Share, local communities will advocate for their specific funding priorities to make sure that the funding goes where it’s most needed, and we will have more money, every single year, to fund those priorities.
  • Why is a constitutional amendment needed at all?
    The federal government and many other states have graduated income taxes, meaning they tax higher income at higher rates—the more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. This is a fairer system: people who can afford more pay more; people who can’t afford to pay as much don’t. But the Massachusetts constitution only allows income to be taxed at one flat rate, currently 5 percent. This means that under existing law, if Massachusetts attempted to raise the income tax for the very rich, it would also affect low- and middle-income people — working people who already pay their fair share and can’t afford to pay more. It also means that right now, the richest people are paying less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. But Question 1 gets those very rich earners to pay a more equal amount of income in taxes: it makes our tax system more fair. The Fair Share Amendment creates a single additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million—just 4¢ per $1 over their first $1 million. All of the revenue is constitutionally dedicated to investments in transportation and public education. That means Massachusetts will have billions of dollars a year, every year, to improve our roads, bridges, public transit, and schools from pre-K to higher education — just by ensuring the very rich pay their fair share in taxes.
  • Who will pay and how much?
    Anyone with an annual income over $1 million would pay an additional 4¢ per dollar on the part of their annual income that’s above $1 million. For example, if someone’s annual income is $1 million and $1, they’d pay an extra 4¢. If someone’s annual income is $1,100,00, they would pay an additional $4,000. If their annual income is $5 million, they would pay an additional $160,000—or around 3% of their total income for the year. In 2019, there were 21,000 state taxpayers with incomes over $1 million – that’s just 0.6 percent of all households in Massachusetts. It’s more than fair for the richest of taxpayers to pay slightly more.
  • Who won't pay? Will I have to pay?
    If you’re in the 99.4% of Massachusetts residents who make less than $1 million a year, you won’t pay a penny more in taxes. FYI: the average annual salaries for doctors, dentists, lawyers, computer programmers, and even chief executives in Massachusetts are all under $250,000: not even close to the $1 million threshold that would be affected by the Fair Share Amendment. Right now, the rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. With the Fair Share Amendment, over 99% of us won’t pay a penny more, but we will all benefit from investments in transportation and public education—the roads and bridges we all walk and drive on, the schools and colleges we or those in our communities attend, the public transit that keeps our commonwealth connected.
  • Will this tax affect so-called ‘one-time millionaires’ who don’t regularly earn more than a million dollars a year?
    An extremely small percentage of people ever earn more than a million dollars a year in taxable income. Less than 0.7 percent of households will pay this tax. If you are one of the fortunate few who makes over a million dollars in only one year, you'll pay a little extra only in that year. A person who earns $1,100,000 would pay an extra four percent only on the amount over a million – just $4,000 extra. But 90 percent of the revenue from Question 1 would be paid by people with annual incomes over $2 million. And 70 percent would be paid by people who earn more than $5 million! Right now, the super-rich pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, and a few billionaires are spending millions of dollars to keep it that way. This entire argument about "one-time millionaires" is a red herring designed to scare people.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help communities of color?
    For years, Massachusetts’ communities of color have been harmed by inequitable and inadequate access to transportation and public education. School districts in cities, which educate the majority of students of color, have been systematically underfunded for decades. The Student Opportunity Act, designed to repair that underfunding, needs new revenue to be fully implemented. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in high-quality education for all students, reliable transportation infrastructure that links residents to education and job opportunities, and high-quality public higher education that doesn’t bury students in debt. Improving transportation and education is a question of racial justice.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help rural communities?
    Massachusetts’ rural communities have needs that aren’t being met by our existing transportation and public education systems. The way that state education funding is allocated doesn’t adequately account for the high transportation costs in rural school districts. Many such communities also are lower-income and have limited ability to raise additional property taxes to help fund their schools and buses. Annual road funding bills don’t meet the needs of small towns. Hundreds of miles of roads need repaving, and regional transit authorities don’t have the resources to provide adequate service in areas where the population is spread out—even though public transit is often a lifeline for people who are unable to drive due to illness, injury, age, or other reasons. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in the infrastructure that our rural communities need to remain livable and healthy.
  • How would MA’s taxes compare to other states?
    Several other states similar to Massachusetts already tax their wealthiest residents at (or higher than) the rate that would be applied to annual income over $1 million with the Fair Share Amendment: Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, and California. Many studies have found that fair tax systems, where the rich pay their fair share, create healthier economies and better places to live. The investments that are made possible by a fair tax system help create better economic opportunities for residents and a transportation infrastructure that works. These benefits attract and grow businesses in the state. The Fair Share Amendment really is good for everyone.
  • Will $1 million seem like a smaller threshold after many years?
    The Fair Share Amendment will start out applied to incomes over $1 million, and that threshold will be adjusted to rise with inflation so that it continues to affect only the very highest incomes. This is just like other programs that get adjusted annually to account for changes in the cost of living.
  • Would people move to other states to avoid paying their fair share?
    Nope. The truth is, only a very small number of millionaires move to avoid paying more taxes. That’s because very high-income people tend to be embedded in their communities and the local business networks that have created their wealth. They’re not going to uproot their families to avoid an additional 4% tax on just a portion of their income, because when you’re that rich, you can afford to live wherever you want, and let your accountant worry about how much you owe in taxes! States (like CA & NY) with the highest tax rates on million-plus dollar incomes have the most million-dollar income households. This question has been extensively researched and it’s clear: high-income people are actually far less likely to move than low- and middle-income people. One perk of being rich is that people get to live where they want, in places with a high quality of life for them. For many people, this includes places with good schools, reliable transportation systems, parks, libraries—and the other public amenities that the Fair Share Amendment will ensure and improve.
  • Will people have to pay more when they retire because of retirement accounts? Would 401Ks or other retirement accounts be affected?
    Long story short: the account value of savings in a retirement account is never taxed. Pension income from the federal government, the military, state government, or local governments is also tax-free, as is income (also called 'distributions') from a Roth IRA. The total account value of savings in an account such as a 401K or traditional IRA is also never taxed. Since contributions made to401Ksand traditional IRAs are deductible from taxable income, individuals only pay taxes on the annual “distributions” from these retirement accounts—the money they actually withdraw from the accounts each year, not the total value inside the accounts. Distributions are the amounts taken out of these accounts during retirement and which are then “income” for the retiree. Savings that remain in the account are not subject to tax. A retiree would only be impacted by Question 1 if their total personal income in a single year, including any distributions from a 401K or IRA that year, was more than $1 million. For instance, if a retiree’s traditional IRA is valued at $2 million, that $2 million would never be taxed in its entirety. If that individual takes out $150,000 in distributions (aka income) in one year, they would not pay a cent more in taxes with Question 1.
  • Why is it fair for the very rich to pay more?
    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Massachusetts families and small businesses struggled just to get by. Meanwhile, multi-millionaire investors have seen their net worth skyrocket. The handful of billionaires in Massachusetts saw their wealth increase by a total of $17.2 billion during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic alone. Combined, they gained almost $25 billion between March 2020 and May 2022. While the rich keep getting richer, they’re not paying their fair share. For years, the highest-income households in Massachusetts – those in the top 1 percent – have paid a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than any other income group. Right now, people with lower incomes pay more of their income in taxes than people with the highest incomes. That’s not fair. The richest Massachusetts residents can clearly afford to pay a little more to make the big investments we’ve been putting off. We need the Fair Share Amendment to grow our economy and make it work for everyone.
  • Could somebody ever pay because of selling their house?
    The short answer is that almost no one who sells a house will be affected in any way. Last year, less than 1 percent of home sales in the state generated enough of a gain to be affected by Question 1. Just 895 homes, to be exact. That's because it's the gain in value since the house was originally purchased, not the full sales price, that is subject to income tax. Plus, home sellers can take advantage of multiple tax deductions to reduce their income tax burden: Someone selling a home can deduct up to $500,000 from their taxes on the sale of their primary residence. They can also deduct the entire cost of a renovated kitchen, an updated heating system, a new roof, or any other major improvements they made to the home. With those deductions, in order for a home seller to actually have $1 million in taxable personal income from the sale of a home, they would need to sell the home for at least $1.5 million over the price they originally bought it for. Only people selling the very priciest homes in Massachusetts would see their incomes rise enough to pay a single penny more with the Fair Share Amendment.
  • Will this tax hit small business owners who are already struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic?
    That’s a scare tactic, but it’s not true. Question 1 is a tax on personal income over $1 million – business taxes would not increase. It doesn’t matter how much revenue or profit a business has: only business owners or shareholders who earn more than $1 million in personal income in a single year will pay more. Less than 3 percent of small businesses owners in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to Question 1. And with Question 1, every business in Massachusetts will benefit when our communities have better schools and colleges that prepare a well-educated workforce, and a more reliable transportation system that gets employees to work and goods to market. An Example: Donna Donna is the sole-owner of a construction firm with $3 million in annual revenue. The businesses’ costs in a typical year are $2.7 million, including payroll for 25 skilled employees trained at a local vocational school, rent, equipment, and other expenses. The company’s annual profit is $300,000 – which is passed through to Donna as the sole proprietor. She also receives a salary of $220,000 a year that – combined with the net income from the construction company – gives her an annual income of $520,000. Because she earns less than $1 million in personal income, Donna won’t pay any more under the Fair Share Amendment, but she and her business would benefit from the transportation infrastructure it will help fund, and the well-educated students it will help prepare for future jobs.
  • Why do we need this money when the state has a budget surplus and federal aid?
    Question 1 isn’t about one budget, or one economic cycle. There have been economic upturns and downturns before, and there will be again: many experts are warning that we’re headed for a recession soon. Massachusetts can’t hire more teachers and counselors, reduce college tuition and student debt, or commit to the major investments we need in our transportation system with one-time budget surpluses and short-term windfalls. We need sustainable, long-term revenue that doesn't require low- and middle-income families to pay more.
  • How would this affect business that are structured as S-Corporations or other “pass-through” entities?
    The Fair Share Amendment wouldn’t increase any businesses taxes, but opponents of Fair Share are deliberately trying to mislead voters by bringing up concerns about ‘S-Corps’ or other ‘pass-through’ businesses. But less than 3 percent of owners of pass-through entities in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to the Fair Share tax. For tax purposes, some businesses are legally structured as ‘S-Corporations.’ While most corporations pay corporate taxes on their profits and then distribute the profits after taxes to their shareholders, an S-Corporation pays no corporate taxes, and instead directly passes profits to its shareholders in the corporation, after subtracting all the business’ costs. Those profits are then taxed on the shareholder’s personal income taxes. The Fair Share Amendment makes no changes to the basic structure of the tax code. S-Corporation shareholders and owners would continue to pay income taxes only on their share of the business’ profits that are passed through to them, after subtracting all the business’ costs. What matters to determine an individual’s personal income taxes is their share of an S-Corporation’s profits, not the business’ total revenues. Taxpayers with total income of more than $1 million in a single year, including their share of any S-Corporation’s profits, will simply pay a little more – just 4 extra percentage points starting with their second million dollars.
  • Haven’t I heard about the Fair Share Amendment before?
    You might have heard of Fair Share—we’ve been fighting to make the Massachusetts tax system fairer since 2015! The original Fair Share Amendment was a proposed citizens’ amendment to the state constitution, meaning more than 150,000 citizens signed on in support of the amendment to get it on the ballot, and after two consecutive constitutional conventions, it was set to appear on the statewide ballot in November 2018. But then, a corporate-financed lawsuit led by five corporate lobbying organizations led to the original Fair Share Amendment being removed from the ballot on a procedural technicality. But our fight was far from over. Our state constitution gives the people of Massachusetts the right to vote to amend our constitution in two ways: by citizens’ amendment or by legislative amendment. In the legislative amendment process, a legislator introduces a constitutional amendment which must pass two consecutive constitutional conventions to be placed on the statewide ballot. Even the opponents of Fair Share recognize that passing it as a legislative amendment is constitutional, and they’re not challenging whether it can appear on the ballot this year. It’s been a long road to get here, and that’s why it’s so important that we turn out to vote YES on the Fair Share Amendment this November 8.

¿Quiere saber más?

Homeowners, Real Estate, Small Business FAQ.
  • What is the Fair Share Amendment?
    It's Question 1 on the November ballot, and Massachusetts voters like you can vote on it this year. The very rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us, and Question 1 would tax the very rich slightly more to make our tax system fairer. Question 1 would create a 4% tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million and constitutionally dedicate the funds raised to transportation and public education. This will allow Massachusetts to improve our roads, bridges, schools, and transportation by guaranteeing in the text of the Massachusetts constitution that every dollar raised by the surtax will go to only public education and transportation. And if you don’t make more than $1 million a year, you won’t pay anything more. The Fair Share Amendment will generate $2 billion a year, every year, that is constitutionally dedicated for quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation. Only the wealthiest Massachusetts residents—individuals who earn MORE THAN $1 million per year—will pay more: just 4% on the part of their annual income that is ABOVE $1 million. Over 99% of all Massachusetts taxpayers will not pay a penny more. And we’ll all benefit from better schools, colleges, roads, bridges, and public transportation. It’s a win-win for Massachusetts.
  • Would we really raise $2 billion a year?
    Yes. The state Department of Revenue estimates that the Fair Share Amendment would raise approximately $2 billion a year, entirely from the top 1% of taxpayers.
  • Will the money really go to transportation and public education?
    Yes. Dedicating the funding from Question 1 in the text of the constitution means that the legislature would be constitutionally required to spend this new money on transportation and public education. The state constitution is binding on the legislature, and the Fair Share Amendment creates an ironclad dedication that the funds raised by the amendment must be spent on those two areas. There’s already plenty of willpower to get money to transportation and education: the Student Opportunity Act promises to increase state aid to local school districts by $1.4 billion a year, and a recent transportation bond bill authorized $16 billion in unfunded transportation investments. But in order to make these and other critical investments, we need a reliable, long-term funding source: the Fair Share Amendment.
  • How exactly will the money be spent?
    With $2 billion in new revenue every single year, every community in the state will benefit from the Fair Share Amendment. Specific investment decisions, such as rebuilding a bridge, hiring more teachers or counselors, increasing college scholarship funding, buying electric transit buses, or building new vocational school classrooms, will be made by the state legislature through the annual budget process, or by local cities and towns. When we pass Fair Share, local communities will advocate for their specific funding priorities to make sure that the funding goes where it’s most needed, and we will have more money, every single year, to fund those priorities.
  • Why is a constitutional amendment needed at all?
    The federal government and many other states have graduated income taxes, meaning they tax higher income at higher rates—the more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. This is a fairer system: people who can afford more pay more; people who can’t afford to pay as much don’t. But the Massachusetts constitution only allows income to be taxed at one flat rate, currently 5 percent. This means that under existing law, if Massachusetts attempted to raise the income tax for the very rich, it would also affect low- and middle-income people — working people who already pay their fair share and can’t afford to pay more. It also means that right now, the richest people are paying less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. But Question 1 gets those very rich earners to pay a more equal amount of income in taxes: it makes our tax system more fair. The Fair Share Amendment creates a single additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million—just 4¢ per $1 over their first $1 million. All of the revenue is constitutionally dedicated to investments in transportation and public education. That means Massachusetts will have billions of dollars a year, every year, to improve our roads, bridges, public transit, and schools from pre-K to higher education — just by ensuring the very rich pay their fair share in taxes.
  • Who will pay and how much?
    Anyone with an annual income over $1 million would pay an additional 4¢ per dollar on the part of their annual income that’s above $1 million. For example, if someone’s annual income is $1 million and $1, they’d pay an extra 4¢. If someone’s annual income is $1,100,00, they would pay an additional $4,000. If their annual income is $5 million, they would pay an additional $160,000—or around 3% of their total income for the year. In 2019, there were 21,000 state taxpayers with incomes over $1 million – that’s just 0.6 percent of all households in Massachusetts. It’s more than fair for the richest of taxpayers to pay slightly more.
  • Who won't pay? Will I have to pay?
    If you’re in the 99.4% of Massachusetts residents who make less than $1 million a year, you won’t pay a penny more in taxes. FYI: the average annual salaries for doctors, dentists, lawyers, computer programmers, and even chief executives in Massachusetts are all under $250,000: not even close to the $1 million threshold that would be affected by the Fair Share Amendment. Right now, the rich pay less of their income in taxes than the rest of us. With the Fair Share Amendment, over 99% of us won’t pay a penny more, but we will all benefit from investments in transportation and public education—the roads and bridges we all walk and drive on, the schools and colleges we or those in our communities attend, the public transit that keeps our commonwealth connected.
  • Will this tax affect so-called ‘one-time millionaires’ who don’t regularly earn more than a million dollars a year?
    An extremely small percentage of people ever earn more than a million dollars a year in taxable income. Less than 0.7 percent of households will pay this tax. If you are one of the fortunate few who makes over a million dollars in only one year, you'll pay a little extra only in that year. A person who earns $1,100,000 would pay an extra four percent only on the amount over a million – just $4,000 extra. But 90 percent of the revenue from Question 1 would be paid by people with annual incomes over $2 million. And 70 percent would be paid by people who earn more than $5 million! Right now, the super-rich pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, and a few billionaires are spending millions of dollars to keep it that way. This entire argument about "one-time millionaires" is a red herring designed to scare people.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help communities of color?
    For years, Massachusetts’ communities of color have been harmed by inequitable and inadequate access to transportation and public education. School districts in cities, which educate the majority of students of color, have been systematically underfunded for decades. The Student Opportunity Act, designed to repair that underfunding, needs new revenue to be fully implemented. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in high-quality education for all students, reliable transportation infrastructure that links residents to education and job opportunities, and high-quality public higher education that doesn’t bury students in debt. Improving transportation and education is a question of racial justice.
  • How does the Fair Share Amendment help rural communities?
    Massachusetts’ rural communities have needs that aren’t being met by our existing transportation and public education systems. The way that state education funding is allocated doesn’t adequately account for the high transportation costs in rural school districts. Many such communities also are lower-income and have limited ability to raise additional property taxes to help fund their schools and buses. Annual road funding bills don’t meet the needs of small towns. Hundreds of miles of roads need repaving, and regional transit authorities don’t have the resources to provide adequate service in areas where the population is spread out—even though public transit is often a lifeline for people who are unable to drive due to illness, injury, age, or other reasons. The Fair Share Amendment would provide the resources necessary to invest in the infrastructure that our rural communities need to remain livable and healthy.
  • How would MA’s taxes compare to other states?
    Several other states similar to Massachusetts already tax their wealthiest residents at (or higher than) the rate that would be applied to annual income over $1 million with the Fair Share Amendment: Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, and California. Many studies have found that fair tax systems, where the rich pay their fair share, create healthier economies and better places to live. The investments that are made possible by a fair tax system help create better economic opportunities for residents and a transportation infrastructure that works. These benefits attract and grow businesses in the state. The Fair Share Amendment really is good for everyone.
  • Will $1 million seem like a smaller threshold after many years?
    The Fair Share Amendment will start out applied to incomes over $1 million, and that threshold will be adjusted to rise with inflation so that it continues to affect only the very highest incomes. This is just like other programs that get adjusted annually to account for changes in the cost of living.
  • Would people move to other states to avoid paying their fair share?
    Nope. The truth is, only a very small number of millionaires move to avoid paying more taxes. That’s because very high-income people tend to be embedded in their communities and the local business networks that have created their wealth. They’re not going to uproot their families to avoid an additional 4% tax on just a portion of their income, because when you’re that rich, you can afford to live wherever you want, and let your accountant worry about how much you owe in taxes! States (like CA & NY) with the highest tax rates on million-plus dollar incomes have the most million-dollar income households. This question has been extensively researched and it’s clear: high-income people are actually far less likely to move than low- and middle-income people. One perk of being rich is that people get to live where they want, in places with a high quality of life for them. For many people, this includes places with good schools, reliable transportation systems, parks, libraries—and the other public amenities that the Fair Share Amendment will ensure and improve.
  • Will people have to pay more when they retire because of retirement accounts? Would 401Ks or other retirement accounts be affected?
    Long story short: the account value of savings in a retirement account is never taxed. Pension income from the federal government, the military, state government, or local governments is also tax-free, as is income (also called 'distributions') from a Roth IRA. The total account value of savings in an account such as a 401K or traditional IRA is also never taxed. Since contributions made to401Ksand traditional IRAs are deductible from taxable income, individuals only pay taxes on the annual “distributions” from these retirement accounts—the money they actually withdraw from the accounts each year, not the total value inside the accounts. Distributions are the amounts taken out of these accounts during retirement and which are then “income” for the retiree. Savings that remain in the account are not subject to tax. A retiree would only be impacted by Question 1 if their total personal income in a single year, including any distributions from a 401K or IRA that year, was more than $1 million. For instance, if a retiree’s traditional IRA is valued at $2 million, that $2 million would never be taxed in its entirety. If that individual takes out $150,000 in distributions (aka income) in one year, they would not pay a cent more in taxes with Question 1.
  • Why is it fair for the very rich to pay more?
    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Massachusetts families and small businesses struggled just to get by. Meanwhile, multi-millionaire investors have seen their net worth skyrocket. The handful of billionaires in Massachusetts saw their wealth increase by a total of $17.2 billion during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic alone. Combined, they gained almost $25 billion between March 2020 and May 2022. While the rich keep getting richer, they’re not paying their fair share. For years, the highest-income households in Massachusetts – those in the top 1 percent – have paid a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than any other income group. Right now, people with lower incomes pay more of their income in taxes than people with the highest incomes. That’s not fair. The richest Massachusetts residents can clearly afford to pay a little more to make the big investments we’ve been putting off. We need the Fair Share Amendment to grow our economy and make it work for everyone.
  • Could somebody ever pay because of selling their house?
    The short answer is that almost no one who sells a house will be affected in any way. Last year, less than 1 percent of home sales in the state generated enough of a gain to be affected by Question 1. Just 895 homes, to be exact. That's because it's the gain in value since the house was originally purchased, not the full sales price, that is subject to income tax. Plus, home sellers can take advantage of multiple tax deductions to reduce their income tax burden: Someone selling a home can deduct up to $500,000 from their taxes on the sale of their primary residence. They can also deduct the entire cost of a renovated kitchen, an updated heating system, a new roof, or any other major improvements they made to the home. With those deductions, in order for a home seller to actually have $1 million in taxable personal income from the sale of a home, they would need to sell the home for at least $1.5 million over the price they originally bought it for. Only people selling the very priciest homes in Massachusetts would see their incomes rise enough to pay a single penny more with the Fair Share Amendment.
  • Will this tax hit small business owners who are already struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic?
    That’s a scare tactic, but it’s not true. Question 1 is a tax on personal income over $1 million – business taxes would not increase. It doesn’t matter how much revenue or profit a business has: only business owners or shareholders who earn more than $1 million in personal income in a single year will pay more. Less than 3 percent of small businesses owners in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to Question 1. And with Question 1, every business in Massachusetts will benefit when our communities have better schools and colleges that prepare a well-educated workforce, and a more reliable transportation system that gets employees to work and goods to market. An Example: Donna Donna is the sole-owner of a construction firm with $3 million in annual revenue. The businesses’ costs in a typical year are $2.7 million, including payroll for 25 skilled employees trained at a local vocational school, rent, equipment, and other expenses. The company’s annual profit is $300,000 – which is passed through to Donna as the sole proprietor. She also receives a salary of $220,000 a year that – combined with the net income from the construction company – gives her an annual income of $520,000. Because she earns less than $1 million in personal income, Donna won’t pay any more under the Fair Share Amendment, but she and her business would benefit from the transportation infrastructure it will help fund, and the well-educated students it will help prepare for future jobs.
  • Why do we need this money when the state has a budget surplus and federal aid?
    Question 1 isn’t about one budget, or one economic cycle. There have been economic upturns and downturns before, and there will be again: many experts are warning that we’re headed for a recession soon. Massachusetts can’t hire more teachers and counselors, reduce college tuition and student debt, or commit to the major investments we need in our transportation system with one-time budget surpluses and short-term windfalls. We need sustainable, long-term revenue that doesn't require low- and middle-income families to pay more.
  • How would this affect business that are structured as S-Corporations or other “pass-through” entities?
    The Fair Share Amendment wouldn’t increase any businesses taxes, but opponents of Fair Share are deliberately trying to mislead voters by bringing up concerns about ‘S-Corps’ or other ‘pass-through’ businesses. But less than 3 percent of owners of pass-through entities in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to the Fair Share tax. For tax purposes, some businesses are legally structured as ‘S-Corporations.’ While most corporations pay corporate taxes on their profits and then distribute the profits after taxes to their shareholders, an S-Corporation pays no corporate taxes, and instead directly passes profits to its shareholders in the corporation, after subtracting all the business’ costs. Those profits are then taxed on the shareholder’s personal income taxes. The Fair Share Amendment makes no changes to the basic structure of the tax code. S-Corporation shareholders and owners would continue to pay income taxes only on their share of the business’ profits that are passed through to them, after subtracting all the business’ costs. What matters to determine an individual’s personal income taxes is their share of an S-Corporation’s profits, not the business’ total revenues. Taxpayers with total income of more than $1 million in a single year, including their share of any S-Corporation’s profits, will simply pay a little more – just 4 extra percentage points starting with their second million dollars.
  • Haven’t I heard about the Fair Share Amendment before?
    You might have heard of Fair Share—we’ve been fighting to make the Massachusetts tax system fairer since 2015! The original Fair Share Amendment was a proposed citizens’ amendment to the state constitution, meaning more than 150,000 citizens signed on in support of the amendment to get it on the ballot, and after two consecutive constitutional conventions, it was set to appear on the statewide ballot in November 2018. But then, a corporate-financed lawsuit led by five corporate lobbying organizations led to the original Fair Share Amendment being removed from the ballot on a procedural technicality. But our fight was far from over. Our state constitution gives the people of Massachusetts the right to vote to amend our constitution in two ways: by citizens’ amendment or by legislative amendment. In the legislative amendment process, a legislator introduces a constitutional amendment which must pass two consecutive constitutional conventions to be placed on the statewide ballot. Even the opponents of Fair Share recognize that passing it as a legislative amendment is constitutional, and they’re not challenging whether it can appear on the ballot this year. It’s been a long road to get here, and that’s why it’s so important that we turn out to vote YES on the Fair Share Amendment this November 8.

Get everything you need to know about exactly how to vote Yes on 1.

Alan

Lauren

bottom of page