MTA joins ‘Raise Up’ education funding campaign

MTA President Barbara Madeloni and Vice President Janet Anderson sent the following message on July 23, 2015, to MTA members about MTA’s participation in a ballot campaign to raise revenues for public education, public higher education and transportation.

To MTA Members:

This is an exciting day for our movement to support our public schools and colleges and bring greater economic justice to every community in Massachusetts. We are proud to announce that the MTA has joined the Raise Up Massachusetts campaign for an amendment to the state Constitution that would implement an equitable revenue plan.

If approved by the voters in 2018, this proposal would lead to new investments in public education, public higher education and transportation infrastructure by increasing the tax rate on annual income over $1 million. No one with an income under $1 million would pay more under this initiative.

The first step in the process is collecting signatures this fall. Within the MTA, our priority will be getting our own members to sign the initiative petition and then asking their colleagues, friends and relatives to sign. In subsequent messages, we will be sharing information about this effort.

In developing this ballot initiative, Raise Up asked voters what services they would prioritize for funding if the wealthiest among us started paying an equitable share of taxes. The response was overwhelming: They want the funds to go to public schools, public higher education and transportation. It is exciting to know that the public values what you and our 110,000 other members do for our students, our communities and our economy.

What do we mean by “equitable”? Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the country. The wealthiest residents pay much less of their income in all state and local taxes combined than the rest of us do. If they paid their fair share, we would be able to improve our public schools, make public higher education more affordable and fix our crumbling transportation system. To raise needed revenues and make the overall tax system more equitable, this initiative would tax the portion of income over $1 million at 4 percentage points more than the rate established for income below $1 million – currently 5.15 percent. The $1 million threshold would be indexed for inflation to ensure that the tax would affect only those with the highest incomes. The new revenue would have to be dedicated to education and transportation.

Click here for more information on Raise Up Massachusetts and here for an article about the campaign that appeared on the front page of today’s Boston Globe.

We need to collect thousands of signatures, and we won’t be able to do it without your help. So please stay tuned and watch for updates and details on the process and what comes next.

Thank you for your participation in this exciting campaign to support public education and students.

Barbara and Janet