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Raise Up Massachusetts Amendment — Campaign Overview

Raise Up Massachusetts is launching a campaign for the passage of an amendment to the state Constitution for a tax on income over $1 million. The additional revenue would be specifically used for investments in public education and transportation.

How would the Raise Up amendment strengthen our Commonwealth?
The best way to help working families and build a stronger economy for us all is to make sure that we have good public schools for our children, affordable public higher education and a transportation system that gets people to work and to businesses.

Without investment in these common goals, working families fall behind and our communities suffer. Raising new revenue is necessary to improve our local K-12 public schools, rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, make college affordable, and invest in fast and reliable public transportation.

This constitutional amendment would create a 4 percent higher rate on annual income over $1 million, which would bring the tax share of the wealthiest residents closer in line with the rest of us.

Why does Massachusetts need this amendment?
Massachusetts has one of the largest income inequality problems in the country, and it’s getting worse. Case in point: Our highest-income residents, who have been the biggest winners in the economy, pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes. This is largely due to lower-income earners paying a higher share of their income in sales taxes and property taxes — and to tax benefits being given to Massachusetts residents with the highest incomes.

This constitutional amendment would create a 4 percent higher rate on annual income over $1 million, which would bring the tax share of the wealthiest residents closer in line with the rest of us. If they paid their fair share — the same share as the rest of us — we would be able to improve our public schools, make public higher education more affordable, and fix our crumbling transportation system.

Without these residents paying their fair share, Massachusetts has not been able to make needed investments to move the state forward:

  • Compared to other states, Massachusetts ranks 48th in state spending on higher education as a percentage of our economy.
  • 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.
  • 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.”

If Massachusetts is serious about helping working families and building a stronger economy for everyone, we must invest in good public schools, affordable public higher education, and a transportation system that works. This tax will provide the revenue to make those investments possible.

How will the campaign succeed?
To move forward, the campaign must gather 64,750 certified signatures in 2015 and get at least 50 votes in the state Legislature in two constitutional conventions before going to the ballot in 2018. To achieve these goals, the campaign is building a broad coalition that brings together leading organizations on transportation and education with business leaders and community, labor and faith organizations.

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