By Bob Katzen
With 95 percent of the votes counted, voters, by a narrow 52 percent to 48 percent margin (Yes – 1,229,630 votes. No – 1,134,238 votes) approved Question 1 – a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow a graduated income tax in Massachusetts and impose an additional 4 percent income tax, in addition to the current flat 5 percent one, on taxpayers’ earnings of more than $1 million annually. Language in the amendment requires that “subject to appropriation” the revenue will go to fund quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation.
Here’s what each side said following the election:
“On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters seized a once-in-a-generation opportunity that was years in the making. “We’ve done what some thought was impossible: passed the Fair Share Amendment to create a permanently fairer tax system and deliver billions of dollars in new revenue for our public schools, colleges, roads, bridges and transit systems.”
— Fair Share for Massachusetts Campaign Manager Jeron Mariani.
“The commonwealth has voiced its approval for tax justice and it couldn’t have come a moment too soon. The historic passage of Question 1, also known as the Fair Share Amendment, will unlock billions of new dollars each year for schools and transportation across the state.
— Marie-Frances Rivera, MassBudget President.
“I hope none of those who voted to end the century-old flat income tax ever becomes successful enough to regret their decision. Citizens for Limited Taxation was founded in 1975 to oppose and defeat the fourth graduated income tax assault on the 1976 ballot and subsequently defeated the fifth attempt in 1994.
—Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.
“Governor-Elect Maura Healey made several promises to cut taxes, and we will hold her to her word. Question 1, which raises taxes 80 percent on the top earners, passed narrowly with her express support. Over the next four years, we look forward to supporting her measures to counteract the negative consequences this will have on the commonwealth, including the plummeting of Massachusetts’ ranking by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation to 4th worst business climate in the country and a return to our former reputation as ’Taxachusetts.’”
—Paul Craney, spokesperson for the Mass Fiscal Alliance.