The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) heard arguments yesterday on the Fair Share Amendment. Opponents of the measure want the justices to determine whether or not the proposal falls within the scope of ballot initiatives, as specified in Article 48 of our state’s constitution.
Our schools lack the foundation funding necessary to provide all students with a well-rounded, quality education that includes the arts, civics and media literacy, and athletics; those who face the greatest challenges require even more support. When they graduate, students are forced to take on enormous debt for a degree from our public colleges and universities. We need to reinvest in quality public education so that all students have access to the well-rounded education and affordable college they need to succeed.
I was proud to be asked by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition to be one of ten original signers 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. The Fair Share Amendment would amend the Massachusetts Constitution to create an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above one million dollars, so only those with the highest incomes would pay a little more. The new revenue generated by this tax could only be spent (subject to appropriation) on quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and for repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation.
To ensure that the tax continues to apply only to the highest income residents, who have the ability to pay more, the one million dollar threshold would be adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases.
As an original signer, and one of thousands of activists to gather petition signatures for it 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: Mary Ann Stewart, Fair Share Amendment Initiative Ballot Petition Signature Page