Oct 25, 2022
‘No on 1’ Campaign Caught Lying About Home Sales; Less Than 1% Would Be Affected
BOSTON – Amid calls for TV stations to take down a false and deceptive ad from the billionaire-backed opponents of Question 1, supporters of the proposed “Fair Share Amendment” are pushing back on television.
Supporters of Question 1 today announced the launch of a new TV ad, part of an eight-figure TV ad campaign that is running through Election Day. Titled ‘Fool You,’ the new ad states “The richest 1% are trying to fool you. Question 1 only affects about 1% of homes sold. Last year, the average home sale that would have been impacted was 3.8 million dollars. Only the richest pay, not you.”
Yesterday, supporters of Question 1 sent a letter to the Boston TV stations that are airing an inaccurate and deceptive ad from the ‘No on Question 1’ campaign. This latest attack from billionaire-backed opponents of the constitutional amendment falsely claims that tens of thousands of home sales would be affected by Question 1.
In response, the author of the report cited by the No on 1 campaign in their ad told the Boston Globe “I do not think our work supports their claim about the tax rate on home sales.”
“The billionaire-backed opponents of Question 1 are lying to voters because they’re desperate to avoid paying their fair share,” said Fair Share for Massachusetts Campaign Manager Jeron Mariani. “As we fight back against their misinformation, we’re focused on sharing the truth with voters: only the priciest 1 percent of mansions and vacation homes would be affected by Question 1. And less than 1 percent of all taxpayers would pay more under Question 1, while we’d all benefit from better schools and roads.”
The facts: 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. Not “tens of thousands.” 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.
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. They can also subtract closing costs, such as realtor commissions.
Last year, there were only 22 cities and towns in the entire state where more than 10 homes sold for a gain of $1.5 million or more, enough to be affected by Question 1 after deductions are taken. In 248 cities and towns, not a single home sold for a gain of $1.5 million or more. The average home that would be affected by Question 1 sold for a total of $3.8 million.
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.
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.