More Than 500 Organizations Across MA Support Question 1 to Improve Schools & Roads with Tax on Million-Dollar Earners

Oct 19, 2022

As Voting Begins, New Poll Shows 58% of Voters Supporting Question 1

BOSTON – As voters begin casting their mail-in ballots this week, and in-person early voting begins over the weekend, more than 500 organizations across the state are united in supporting Question 1, 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.

 

And in a sign of the continued momentum for Question 1, a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe/NBC10 Boston/Telemundo poll of Massachusetts voters found 58 percent support for Question 1, compared to 37 percent opposition.

 

“Tens of 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 all working together to pass Question 1 in November,” said Lillian Lanier, Field Director for Fair Share for Massachusetts. “We’re supporting Question 1 because we know it will help improve our schools and transportation infrastructure, and only the very rich will pay more. A few billionaires are trying to mislead voters about what Question 1 does, but our grassroots supporters are having thousands of conversations every day to combat their misinformation.”

 

The Yes on Question 1 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. A full list of the 500+ organizations supporting Question 1 can be found here.


Supporters of Question 1 call the Amendment an opportunity for Massachusetts to improve our schools and colleges, fix our roads and bridges, create jobs, and boost our economy, all without 99% of taxpayers paying a single cent more.

 

“Question 1 is a chance to make things better,” says New Bedford public school teacher Cynthia Roy in one of the campaign’s ads. “It raises $2 billion a year, constitutionally dedicated to public education and transportation, so we can end the teacher shortage, hire more counselors, and provide better support for students.”

 

“[Question 1] creates thousands of new jobs at the same time,” says Canton operating engineer Jimmy Marenghi in another ad. “And only the super rich pay for it, not families like mine.

 

Opponents of Question 1, funded by a few billionaire CEOs who don’t want to pay their fair share in taxes, are trying to scare seniors and small business owners about the effects of Question 1, but the facts are clear.

 

Question 1 is a tax on personal income over $1 million – business taxes would not be affected, and Question 1 doesn’t apply to any business’s revenues. Less than 3 percent of businesses owners in Massachusetts have taxable personal income over $1 million that would be subject to Question 1, and many of them are primarily investors or shareholders, not people running a business day-to-day.

 

“If a business is generating more than a million dollars in personal profit for the owner, even after they deduct all their business expenses, let’s be real: it’s not a small business, and that super-rich business owner can afford to pay their fair share in taxes,” says Gerly Adrien, Business Director of Fair Share for Massachusetts & owner of Tipping Cow Ice Cream in Somerville and Boston.

 

"Question 1 wouldn't make small businesses like ours pay a single penny more. But every business in Massachusetts will benefit when we have a more reliable transportation system to get our customers in the door and our employees to and from work," says Karsen Eckweiler, co-owner of Democracy Brewing in Boston. "We'll all benefit from better schools and colleges that prepare a well-educated workforce. And anyone who makes more than a million dollars in a single year can easily afford to pay a little more — just four cents on every dollar from their second million, and everything above it — to help build a stronger economy for all of us."

 

And research from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, based on Massachusetts taxpayer data from the IRS, proves conclusively that less than 1 percent of seniors will pay more in taxes if Question 1 on the November ballot is approved, including when they sell their homes.

 

“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 John Lippitt, a Reading homeowner and retiree. “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.”

 

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.

 

For supporters, Question 1 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fund our public schools and colleges and repair our roads, bridges, and transit, all by making the very rich pay their fair share in state taxes.

 

“When I go door to door talking to voters about Question 1, I’m joined by educators, parents, and school staff who want our schools to have adequate staffing to give students one-on-one attention and help them recover from learning loss,” said Liz Speakman, a Quincy parent. “I’m joined by drivers who want to see the potholes on our main streets fixed, bus riders who are worried about the state of our public transportation infrastructure, and students who want to get a public college degree without taking on enormous debt. That’s who our campaign is, and I know that when working people join together and have conversations with our neighbors, we can overcome the scare tactics of a few billionaires.”


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 unions72 community organizing groups; 18 faith-based groupsmore than 75 businesses64 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.