Fair Share Amendment Ballot Campaign Launches New TV Ad Focused on Retired Homeowner

Oct 14, 2022

Question 1 on the November Ballot Would Raise $2 Billion for Schools and Roads, Wouldn’t Affect Vast Majority of Home Sales

BOSTON – The campaign working to pass the Fair Share Amendment today announced the launch of a new TV ad, part of an eight-figure TV ad campaign that is running through Election Day. The Fair Share Amendment, the proposed state tax on incomes above $1 million, would raise billions of dollars that are constitutionally dedicated to transportation and public education. It is Question 1 on the November statewide ballot.

Titled ‘Retiree,’ the new ad features John Lippitt, a Reading homeowner and retiree, explaining how “Question 1 raises $2 billion a year for public education and roads. It turns out, only people making over a million dollars a year will pay more, and it won’t impact our retirement savings. Even when we sell our house, we won’t have to pay more. I’m voting YES on Question 1.”

A recent report from the Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center found that even in Massachusetts’s hot housing market, only a tiny percentage of home sellers would see their taxable income rise above $1 million. Last year, only 895 homes, less than 1 percent of all home sales in the state, generated enough of a gain to be affected by Question 1.

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 deduct up to $500,000 from their taxes on the sale of their primary residence, and also deduct the entire cost of a renovated kitchen, an updated heating system, a new roof, or any other major improvements.

Local data on home sales shows that in the majority of towns across the Commonwealth, not a single home was sold for a gain of $1 million or more. Only 22 towns had more than 10 sales yield a gain of $1.5 million or more, enough to be affected by Question 1 after deductions are taken. In John’s town of Reading, not a single home sold for that much of a gain.

“As a retiree and homeowner, I know that Question 1 won't affect me and my wife when we sell our home. It makes me angry that the billionaire opponents of Question 1 are trying to scare us with misleading ads,” says Lippitt. “I’m supporting Question 1 because 99% of us, including home sellers and retirees, won’t pay more, but we'll all benefit from better roads and bridges, and our grandkids will enjoy better schools and affordable public college.”

The new ad can be found here. Previous ‘Yes on 1’ TV ads can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

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 350 organizations across the state are working together to pass Question 1. Our campaign has been endorsed by 80 labor unions, 63 community organizing groups, 15 faith-based groups, more than 75 businesses, and more than 100 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.