If I Had a Billion Dollars
This week, the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition filed an initiative petition for an amendment to the state Constitution that would raise more than $1 billion for public education and transportation. The funds would come from increasing taxes on income over $1 million a year. The MTA is a committed member of Raise Up Massachusetts. We will be asking you, our members, to help collect the thousands of signatures needed to qualify this initiative for the ballot.
For the past year, I have been working with you to take back the union's role as the voice of public education. I wanted us to stop playing defense and to assert what kind of public education — and what kind of Commonwealth — we want. And I wanted us to go out and fight for it.
We have been putting up a good fight. The problem is that much of what we want for our students costs money, and we've been living under the myth of austerity. Year after year, we fight rear-guard actions to stop cuts to education programs at all levels, from preK through higher education. Year after year, we win some battles and lose others, knowing that the long-term trend is downward.
It's time for a change.
That's why this campaign is so important. If we are successful, we can start to imagine how much good we could do with education's share of approximately $1.3 billion a year.
This initiative will benefit our students, our schools and our communities. MTA members have a crucial role to play in helping to collect signatures. The campaign as a whole is seeking to collect at least 100,000 signatures to ensure we have the 64,750 certified signatures needed. We are getting systems in place now so we'll be ready to go when the petitions are printed sometime in early September.
Equally important, starting now and continuing until this amendment is passed in 2018, we need you to help us make the case for raising taxes on people making more than $1 million in a single year so that our students can attend the schools and colleges they deserve. How would these funds benefit your students, your school and your community? Just think of it!
These may be the dog days of summer, but we aren't dozing. The campaign for opportunity for all begins today.
In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great things ahead,