Senate Speaker Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano on Thursday prepared for a vote next week a constitutional amendment that would raise income taxes for wealthy Massachusetts residents at a time when the state is teeming with tax revenue and federal stimulus money.
The self-styled millionaire’s tax proposal has been in the works for years and is up for a Legislative Assembly vote before being presented to voters in the 2022 statewide poll. The proposal would amend the state’s constitution to add a 4% surtax on all household income over $ 1 million. The current flat tax rate in Massachusetts is 5%.
“As Massachusetts recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and we prepare for our future, we have a unique opportunity to move towards a Commonwealth that truly works for all residents,” Spilka and Mariano said in a joint statement Thursday.
Democratic leaders have said they intend to call for a vote on the income tax change next Wednesday when the Constitutional Convention – a joint meeting of the two branches of the legislature – returns.
The measure must pass in two consecutive legislative sessions to qualify for the ballot. It had already been adopted in 2019 by a vote of 147-48.
The Revenue Department has previously estimated that the tax could generate up to $ 1.9 billion in new taxes that the amendment would devote to transportation and revenue needs, although this estimate has not been updated for years. years.
Tax revenues for this fiscal year are trending more than $ 1.8 billion ahead of projections through April, and lawmakers are also starting to decide how to spend $ 5.3 billion in federal COVID-relief assistance. 19.
Both Spilka and Mariano have said they support advancing the increase in the voting income surtax.
“We stand with the people of Massachusetts to explore new ways to increase state revenues as we envision and invest in a fair and hopeful future for the Commonwealth,” the leaders said.
The Raise Up Coalition, a group of labor, faith-based and community organizations that have championed the millionaire tax, said they appreciated the timing of the vote and described their campaign as “in full swing,” with more than a dozen supporters. local gatherings planned this month.
“Long before the pandemic, Massachusetts needed new investments in our transportation and public education systems. These investments are needed more than ever to improve our economy for all and to ensure that Massachusetts remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. Massachusetts needs long-term, sustainable income for those investments that don’t force low- and middle-income families to pay more, ”the coalition said in a statement.