The following statement was issued Thursday by MTA President Max Page and MTA Vice President Deb McCarthy:
With the new House budget released Wednesday, it is clearer than ever that by winning the Fair Share Amendment, we won the power to make real, transformative change for all Bay State residents. We applaud the 115,000 educators we represent and our allies in the Raise Up coalition, who all fought long and hard for a fairer tax code to fund the public education and transportation system our state needs and deserves.
We are pleased that, with the new Fair Share funds, the House is maintaining its commitment to our union’s, and the Commonwealth’s, landmark preK-12 achievement in 2019 of the Student Opportunity Act, while also tackling food insecurity in our communities by funding universal free meals in our schools, as well as the need for green buildings by funding clean energy infrastructure. We are pleased that the House allocated more rural school aid than Governor Healey had proposed in her budget, and took an important step forward in providing affordable health insurance for our least-well-paid public school employees and adjunct faculty at public colleges and universities. As with the governor’s budget proposal, the House’s education spending plan aligns with many of the priorities of our union members. Though much more is needed, the House budget proposal will bring close to $1 billion more to our public schools and colleges.
But we still have work to do to fully realize the promise of Fair Share. We are disappointed that the House budget proposes far less for public higher education than does the governor’s budget proposal, fails to commit to achieving a living wage for the drastically underpaid Education Support Professionals who are critically important to prek-12 schools and families, and doesn’t provide new, targeted funds for school counselors, nurses and librarians in our public schools, paid family leave for all educators, support services for college students and true debt-free community college for all residents. Massachusetts can only achieve true educational equity and best serve the social, emotional and educational needs of students by investing in these priorities.
While there are progressive aspects of the House tax proposal, we are stunned that, like Governor Healey’s plan, it goes against the will of voters by proposing to give more than $400 million in tax breaks to wealthy corporations and the very rich. These tax code changes would give millions of dollars in tax cuts to the richest residents of our state, millions that could be invested in all the areas that would make the Commonwealth a more just and economically vibrant place to live. Giving the wealthiest what they want, based on myths of “millionaire flight” and a false notion of “competitiveness,” is the wrong path to take. Providing working people what they need to thrive will bring us closer to the Commonwealth our members want to live in.