Amesbury, Newburyport School Committees Join 50+ Communities Endorsing Question 1 to Improve Local Schools & Roads with Tax on Million-Dollar Earners

Oct 18, 2022

BOSTON – Last night, the Amesbury and Newburyport School Committees each passed resolutions in support of Question 1 on the November ballot, joining dozens of other municipal leaders across the state in supporting the proposed ‘Fair Share Amendment’ that would tax incomes above $1 million and raise billions of dollars that are constitutionally dedicated to transportation and public education.

“As a district, Amesbury is struggling to keep up with funding infrastructure projects, as well as to hire staff to help students recover from the effect COVID has had on learning,” said Amesbury School Committee member Mel Webster. “This year, our budget allocation from the city increased by less than 1.7 percent. On top of that, we continue to struggle with unfunded state mandates, an issue recently chronicled by our State Auditor. The hope is Massachusetts voters approve the Fair Share Amendment and additional funds make their way to Amesbury.”

“If passed, Question 1 will provide a lasting revenue stream of constitutionally-mandated funds to support the needs of all students and improve the quality of public education,” said Newburyport School Committee Member Sarah Hall.

Local volunteers also knocked on hundreds of doors throughout the two cities during canvasses launched by the Newburyport City Democratic Committee and AFT Amesbury Local #1033. Participants in the Newburyport canvass included City Councillors Jennie Donahue, Ed Cameron and Bruce Vogel, former councilor Charlie Tontar, and school committee member Sara Hall.

“As I spoke to voters, they expressed strong support for the improvements to our schools, roads, and transit that Question 1 would help fund,” said volunteer Pam Wool of Newburyport. “Some who answered the door expressed some confusion about how home sales fit into Question 1, and I was able to clarify.”

“The only home sales that would be affected are those that generate a capital gain of more than one million dollars after taking deductions into account,” Wool explained. Home sellers can deduct from their taxes the original purchase price, a deduction of $500,00 for married couples or $250,000 for individuals, plus any investments made in the house like a new roof, renovated kitchen, or updated heating. “In Newburyport, only 3 home sales last year sold for enough of a gain to be affected by Question 1 after the deduction for couples is applied. Once I explained this, confusion turned to support.”

In recent months, resolutions supporting Question 1 have been passed by 19 city councils, 16 town select boards, and 29 school committees, collectively representing more than 50 communities across Massachusetts. Communities range in size from rural towns such as Windsor (population 831) and New Salem (population 983), to many of the Commonwealth’s largest cities, including Worcester, Springfield, and Boston. City Councils in Amesbury and Newburyport both voted to support Question 1 earlier this year.

“Many of us came to and continue to live in Newburyport because of all the assets that the state brings in terms of an educated workforce and other important public infrastructure,” said Newburyport At-Large Councillor Edward Cameron in May, when the Council voted to endorse Question 1. “These proposed Fair Share Amendment revenues going towards education and transportation will definitely be part and parcel to keeping it that way.”

Background on Question 1: the Fair Share Amendment

The Fair Share Amendment – Question 1 on the November ballot – will allow Massachusetts to improve our transportation and public education systems by making the very rich pay their fair share. Question 1 would create a 4 percent tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million and constitutionally dedicate the funds to be spent on transportation and public education. Only people who earn more than $1 million annually will be impacted; 99% of us won’t pay a penny more. And we’ll all benefit from better schools, roads, bridges, and public transportation.

Thousands of educators, workers, small business owners, parents, faith leaders, municipal officials, drivers and transit riders, and more than 500 organizations across the state are working together to pass Question 1. Our campaign has been endorsed by 87 labor unions; 72 community organizing groups; 18 faith-based groups; more than 75 businesses; 64 city councils, select boards, and school committees; 89 local Democratic town and ward committees; and 115 other social service and not-for-profit organizations focused on housing, education, transportation, public health, and the environment. Learn more and get involved at FairShareMA.com.

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The Fair Share for Massachusetts campaign is led by Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of community organizations, faith-based groups, and labor unions committed to building an economy that invests in families, gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, and creates broadly shared prosperity. Since our coalition came together in 2013, we have nearly doubled wages for hundreds of thousands of working people by winning two increases in the state’s minimum wage, won best-in-the-nation earned sick time and paid family and medical leave benefits for workers and their families, and started to build an economy that works for all of us, not just those at the top.