Springfield City Council backs higher tax on millionaires with ‘Fair Share Amendment’ (MassLive)
SPRINGFIELD — The City Council has unanimously endorsed the Fair Share Amendment, a referendum on the November ballot that seeks to raise money for public education and transportation by taxing millionaires and billionaires across the state.
Councilors on Monday voted in favor of a resolution proposed by Councilor Jesse Lederman to endorse the referendum, which if approved by Massachusetts voters in November, would levy a tax of 4 percent on any income beyond $1 million. The estimated $2 billion annually would be used to supplement spending on public education, public colleges, and transportation issues across the state.
Lederman, celebrating his 27th birthday, said that when people asked him what he wished for his birthday, his wishlist includes affordable four-year colleges and vocational training programs, high-quality public education, redesigned roads that are safe for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, and highspeed east-west rail to expand economic opportunities for people in Western Massachusetts.
“We know that these investments will take resources, they will take funding, and we know that working families are already being asked to pay too much and receiving too little in return,” he said.
Passage of the Fair Share Amendment would tax only the state’s wealthiest people and would “balance the scales” across the state.
“For too long investment in bedrock resources like public education, transportation and infrastructure have been underfunded…and that has hit cities like Springfield the hardest,” he said. “At the same time. millionaires and billionaires continued to benefit from those same resources while enjoying record profits from our labor and expenses.”
Councilor Kateri Walsh said she supports the resolution and the Fair Share Amendment because she believes the additional revenue would improve the quality of life for so many.
“So many people that work hard for the city of Springfield, but don’t always get a return on what they do,” Walsh said.
In the public speak-out before the main council meeting, Jaqueline Velez, a Springfield resident, mother of two and an organizer with Jobs for Justice, spoke in favor of the resolution.
“Our public schools have been underfunded way too long. The strain of the pandemic has just made it worse,” said Velez. “I support the Fair Share Amendment because the billions in sustainable new revenue it will bring to Massachusetts will go a long way to addressing long-standing inequities and ensuring that our kids can finally receive a decent education and the social support they need to thrive.”