Response to comments by Secretary Peyser on constitutional amendment education funding

The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition, which the MTA is a member of, issued the following response on Jan. 21 to comments by Education Secretary James Peyser in which he denied the need for additional revenue to support our education system and opposed the proposed constitutional amendment that would invest in transportation and public education by creating an additional tax on annual income above $1 million.

“It's not surprising that the former executive director of the Pioneer Institute opposes a tax on millionaires, but it's incredibly disappointing that the state's top education official doesn't acknowledge our Commonwealth's urgent need for new revenue to invest in education,” said Tom Gosnell, President of the AFT Massachusetts.

“It is shocking that Secretary Peyser is more concerned about keeping taxes low for millionaires than he is about providing our schools with the resources they need."

— MTA President Barbara Madeloni

A recent report by the state’s Foundation Budget Review Commission found that the current state education budget underestimates the cost of educating students by at least $1 billion per year.

“It is shocking that Secretary Peyser is more concerned about keeping taxes low for millionaires than he is about providing our schools with the resources they need to give all students an excellent education,” said Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, who served on the Foundation Budget Review Commission.

At a hearing Tuesday, Raise up Massachusetts released a statement signed by 71 Massachusetts economists in support of the amendment. The statement calls it “a fair means by which to improve our economy’s performance and create greater opportunities for all residents of the Commonwealth.”

“If Secretary Peyser had attended Tuesday's hearing, he would have heard from local officials and community leaders, students and parents, teachers and administrators, economists and experts. They all understand the need for additional revenue to make investments in early childhood education, music, art, athletics, and STEM education from kindergarten through twelfth grade, and debt-free public college, not to mention the functional transportation system necessary to get students and teachers to and from school,” said Deb Fastino, Executive Director of the Coalition for Social Justice. “If Secretary Peyser has another fair way to raise revenue for these crucial investments, we're all ears.”

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