MTA members have their best opportunity in more than two decades to raise significant revenues for public schools and public higher education — taking a major step to advance the interests of our students, our schools, our colleges and universities, and our communities.
The MTA has joined an effort by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition to raise revenues for education and transportation through an amendment to the state Constitution.
The Raise Up Massachusetts Amendment would:
- Add a 4 percentage point tax on the portion of a filer’s income in excess of $1 million. Income tax rates would remain unchanged for the bottom 99 percent of the population.
- Index the $1 million threshold to inflation so that it would never affect anyone but the very wealthiest taxpayers.
- Dedicate the more than $1.5 billion raised annually to public education, public higher education and transportation infrastructure.
Supporters, including many MTA members, collected more than 150,000 signatures to put the Fair Share Amendment on the ballot. The signatures were formally delivered to the Secretary of State's Office on Dec. 1, 2015.
OVERVIEW One-pager answering the basic questions — the who, what, where and why of the Raise Up Massachusetts amendment campaign.
COVER STORY “It’s time to end the austerity myth that is used to justify depriving some students of an enriching educational experience.” - MTA President Barbara Madeloni on the proposed amendment in MTA Today.
TALKING POINTS Passing this amendment would provide community resources, create opportunity and address income inequality.
PETITION This petition was filed on Aug. 4, 2015, with the state Attorney General's office and signed by 10 individuals, including Fall River Educators' Association President Rebecca Cusick.
What Is at Stake
Public schools and public higher education have been badly underfunded in recent decades because past tax cuts have slashed revenue. In inflation-adjusted dollars, state support has dropped.
- Compared to other states, Massachusetts ranks 48th in state spending on higher education as a percentage of our economy. In fact, state higher education spending is down by nearly 50 percent over the past 15 years, when adjusted for inflation and enrollment.
- Since cutting the income tax by $3 billion a year, our state has reduced local aid — money that invests in good K-12 schools and local services — by more than 40 percent.
- State spending on early education and care is down by one-third over the past 15 years.
- 446 bridges in Massachusetts are “structurally deficient,” meaning they have “major deterioration, cracks, or other flaws that reduce [the] ability to support vehicles,” and the MBTA needs billions to reach a “state of good repair.”
Why the Wealthiest Should Pay More
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center documented that income inequality has grown tremendously in the past 30 years at the same time that the wealthiest residents are paying a smaller share of their income than everyone else in state and local taxes.
- The top 1 percent of earners pay a much smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the bottom 99 percent.
- Over the past 30 years, the rich have gotten much, much richer, while incomes for everyone else have stagnated.
- The U.S. has the highest rate of income inequality among all advanced economies.
News and Views
The rich who say tax me more, The Boston Globe, Sept. 18, 2015
“It’s time for us to return to where we once had been before taxes were demonized and government was demonized,” — Arnold Hiatt, former chief executive and chairman of the shoe company Stride Rite
Raise Up Massachusetts' Statement on Amendment Certification, Sept. 2, 2015
"We are pleased to see this amendment take the next step towards the 2018 ballot with today’s certification by the Attorney General."
Liberal groups propose higher tax for top earners, The Boston Globe, July 23, 2015
“This is critical for the economic future of the Commonwealth, and I think it’s critical for our sense of who we are as a people,” — state Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington)
MTA: Initiative petition submitted to support public education, Aug. 4, 2015
“This initiative is a game-changer.” — MTA President Barbara Madeloni