Vital services are being starved at a time when we should be expanding opportunities for education and economic growth. Between 2001 and today, we have seen dramatic reductions in nearly every state program, including early education and care, the environment and recreation, higher education, infrastructure and economic development, Chapter 70 education aid, public health, and more.
The choices we make should reflect our shared values of economic opportunity and prosperity for all. To restore vital programs and services and fund critical new investments, we need a tax system that provides adequate revenues for essential investments and raises revenues in a fairer manner.
Tax cuts since the late 1990s and early 2000s have left us with a $3 billion structural deficit: every year when the budget is built, it starts from -$3 billion. To achieve an adequate revenue level, we must restore at least $2 billion per year in taxes. This will keep Massachusetts taxes at about the average level among the states.
At present, lower income families pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than do wealthy families. Reducing that injustice will improve the way that citizens share in funding our public structures.
I was proud to be asked by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition to be an original signer of the Fair Share Amendment because improving the quality of the education our young people receive, and providing a sound future for them and our Commonwealth, requires up-front investments for the long-term. As an original signer, and one of thousands of activists to gather petition signatures for the Fair Share Amendment to improve transportation infrastructure and public education, I believe we can make those investments by asking our highest income residents, who currently pay less of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, to pay a little more on their income over $1 million.
Revenue raised by the Amendment will go a long way to making sure we are educating our children in high-quality programs, providing affordable higher education for students, and building a transportation system that works. These investments are critical to ensuring every resident in the Bay State has a shot at getting ahead.
Photo credit: MassBudget and Policy Center