A statement from State Senator Jason M. Lewis:
At the start of the next legislative session in January 2019, I plan to file a legislative amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution that would create a 4% surtax on annual individual income above one million dollars and direct this new revenue toward investments in education and transportation.
This proposal — which would be identical to the initiative petition pursued by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition and recently disqualified from the 2018 ballot by the Supreme Judicial Court — would not be subject to the same constitutional challenges that derailed the Raise Up petition since it would be a legislative proposal. With support from my colleagues, it could be on the ballot for voters to make the final decision in 2022.
Income inequality is at unacceptable levels in Massachusetts and, at the same time, our transportation infrastructure is woefully inadequate and our schools are struggling to provide a quality education to every student. If we don’t act boldly and comprehensively to address these issues, then we will put the future of our communities and state economy at risk.
The constitutional amendment would help fix crumbling roads and bridges, improve MBTA and commuter rail service, implement the bipartisan recommendations of the Chapter 70 Foundation Budget Review Commission to provide adequate funding for K-12 schools, expand access to quality early childhood education, and make higher education at our state colleges and universities more affordable for students and families.
Numerous polls have indicated overwhelming public support for this proposal. In addition, in two successive constitutional conventions, lawmakers voted with 70% support to move this proposal forward.
Although I’m deeply disappointed that the Raise Up petition will not be on the ballot in 2018, I remain absolutely committed to achieving greater fairness in our state’s tax system and ensuring that we are investing in the future of our families, communities, and Commonwealth.