Proposed constitutional amendment would fund transportation, education  

Dave RogersRogersSean Garballey, 2019Garballey Cindy FriedmanFriedman The Arlington legislative delegation joined its colleagues at a joint session of the state Legislature  to provide greater investments in education and transportation funding. 

Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge) voted in a Constitutional Convention to advance the "fair share" amendment to the state Constitution.

The amendment goes to voters for a statewide vote in 2022,. It establishes a 4-percent tax on annual taxable income in excess of $1 million. The revenue generated, estimated by the Department of Revenue to be as much as $2.2 billion annually, would pay for repair and maintenance projects for roads, bridges or public transportation as well as funding for public education, including support for early education and child care and public higher education. 

“Once again, I was proud to work with my colleagues to move this important amendment to the next stage of the process,” Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said in a June 14 news release. “The revenue raised by the Fair Share Amendment is an effective and fair way to increase investments in public transportation and public education, needed now more than ever as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

“The commonwealth faces a critical need for funding both education and transportation,” Garballey said. “I am happy to see this go before voters in 2022. I believe we will decide that this is a practical and commonsense way to raise much-needed revenue.”  

“As many struggled during the pandemic, CEO compensation soared to record highs, part of a decades-long trend of increasing income inequality,” Rogers said. “A measured tax increase—only on that portion of an annual income over a million dollars—is eminently fair and will generate urgently needed revenue to fund education and transportation initiatives.” 

The Legislature must approve a constitutional amendment in two consecutive joint sessions before the question appears on the ballot for voter approval. The Fair Share Act was approved for a first time on June 12, 2019, in a 147-48 vote. The vote of June 9, 2021, 159-41, ensures the proposal will appear on the November 2022 statewide ballot. 

Should voters approve the ballot measure, the income level would be adjusted annually to reflect increases in the cost of living by the same method used to determine federal income tax brackets. This would ensure that, over time, the additional 4-percent tax would continue to apply only to the highest earning individuals in the Commonwealth. The tax would apply to all tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2023,

June 10, 2021: Friedman joins Senate in passing fiscal '22 budget

This news announcement was published Monday, June 14, 2021.