Jun 23, 2022 - News

"Millionaire's tax" ballot question will go to Massachusetts voters

Illustration of a voting booth with a gavel printed on the side.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A ballot question that would impose an additional 4% surtax on incomes over $1 million will go before voters this November, the state's top court ruled yesterday.

Why it matters: If voters approve it, the so-called "Fair Share amendment" to the constitution would tax the state's highest earners a total of up to $2 billion more a year.

State of play: Supporters say the new money will go toward deferred education and transportation spending without hurting the lower and middle classes.

  • Opponents claim the higher tax will lead to an exodus of super-earners from the state and hurt small businesses or estates that generate over $1 million a year.

Driving the news: The SJC ruled that both the one-sentence "yes" and "no" descriptions and the longer summary of what the change would do are in compliance with the law.

  • Conservatives had tried to have the question thrown out, arguing that the descriptions were misleading about how revenue raised by the new tax would be spent.

What's next: Conservative groups and others who don't want the new surtax will ramp up the public campaign to defeat the question at the polls.

  • Expect to see ads claiming that Democratic leaders won't uphold their vow to funnel the money to transportation and education.
  • The Fair Share Coalition behind the ballot effort will also switch to a public information campaign to convince voters of the benefits of the surtax and higher spending.

The bottom line: Whether you call it the "millionaire's tax" or the "graduated income tax," voters will decide Nov. 8 if the commonwealth should raise taxes on the rich.


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