Beacon Hill Roll Call – How legislators voted on a 4 percent tax hike on millionaires – Special Report – May 18, 2016

By Bob Katzen 


   (STATEHOUSE, BOSTON) May 18, 2016 – The House and Senate held a constitutional convention and approved 135-57, (House approved 102-50, Senate approved 33-7) a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow a graduated income tax and impose an additional 4 percent income tax, in addition to the current 5.10 percent one, on taxpayers’ earnings of more than $1 million. The proposal garnered the required vote of at least 25 percent (50 members) of the 2015-2016 Legislature and will go on the November 2018 ballot if approved by 50 members of the 2017-2018 Legislature. 
   The amendment is being proposed by the group Raise Up Massachusetts, which gathered the necessary signatures to bring the measure to the Legislature. Language in the amendment requires that the revenue go to fund quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation. The state’s income tax is currently a flat 5.10 percent on all taxpayers regardless of their income.
   Supporters said the amendment is a reasonable one that will affect only 14,000 very wealthy individuals and will raise $1.9 billion in additional revenue. They said the requirement to use the revenue for public education, public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation will benefit millions of Bay State taxpayers. They argued the hike would help lower income families which are now paying a higher share of their income in taxes.
   Opponents said the state will soon regain its dreaded title of “Taxachusetts.” They argued the new tax will lead to the loss of 9,500 private sector jobs and will result in many millionaires moving out of the state and a loss of all income tax revenue from them. They argued that the earmarking of the funds for specific projects is illegal and said all the funds will go into the General Fund and be up for grabs for anything. They noted the amendment will result in class warfare and higher taxes on millions of taxpayers by allowing the Legislature to establish different tax rates for different levels of income.
   (A “Yes” vote is for the additional tax. A “No” vote is against it.)

 Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Denise Provost Didn’t Vote Rep. Timothy Toomey Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes                                     

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