Why Investing in Transportation and Public Education Matters

The best way to help working families and build a stronger economy for us all is to make sure that we have quality public schools for our children, affordable public higher education, and a transportation system that allows people get to school or work, lets customers get to businesses, and helps everyone fulfill their daily tasks. Without investment in these common goals, working families fall behind and our communities suffer. New revenue is necessary to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges, and paths, improve our public schools, invest in fast and reliable public transportation, make public higher education affordable, expand opportunities for healthy walking and bicycling, and give every child access to high-quality early childhood education and preschool programs.

What Our Constitutional Amendment Would Do

Our proposed constitutional amendment would create an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above one million dollars, so only those with the highest incomes would pay a little more. The new revenue generated by this tax could only be spent on quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and for repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation. To ensure that the tax continues to apply only to the highest income residents, who have the ability to pay more, the one million dollar threshold would be adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases.

What This Means for Massachusetts

Quality Public Schools: Students need a well-rounded education, founded on a rich and varied curriculum that includes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), music, art, and athletics. We need to re-invest in these programs now to give all of our students access to a complete education.

Affordable Public College: Our tuitions and fees are among the highest in the country, and students are forced to take on enormous debt to receive a degree. Compared to other states, Massachusetts ranks 45th in state spending on higher education as a share of our economy. We need to reinvest in public higher education, to make it affordable for middle and working class students in our state.

Improved Transportation Infrastructure: Right now, our transportation network is stuck in the last century. For Massachusetts to compete against other regions around the nation and the globe, we need to invest in modern, reliable transportation: safer roads and bridges, public transportation that works, and safe ways to walk and bike around town. We have a large backlog of neglected bridges, tunnels, roads, paths, and public transportation infrastructure in need of repair. 446 bridges in Massachusetts are “structurally deficient,” meaning they have “major deterioration, cracks, or other flaws that reduce [the] ability to support vehicles,” and an estimated $14.4 billion of bridge repairs are needed. If we don’t provide the funding soon to deal with these problems they will only get more dangerous and more expensive to solve in the future.

Early Education and Preschool: Our children need high-quality early childhood education and preschool programs to develop early literacy and math skills, build a foundation for STEM learning, and develop social-emotional skills that help them succeed in school and in life. Investing in high-quality early childhood education and preschool programs is critical to creating greater educational attainment for our children and supporting the future economic growth of Massachusetts.

How Will The Campaign Succeed?

In 2015, we collected over 155,000 signatures from Massachusetts voters to qualify our petition for the ballot. To move forward, the campaign must get at least 50 votes in the state Legislature in two constitutional conventions before going to the ballot in 2018. To achieve these goals, the campaign is building a broad coalition that brings together leading organizations on transportation and education with business leaders and community, labor and faith organizations. Join us today to help working families and build a stronger economy for us all.

If Massachusetts is serious about helping working families and building a stronger economy, we must invest in quality public schools, affordable higher education, and a transportation system that works.

Below is the full text of our proposed amendment:

Amendment Article XLIV of the Massachusetts Constitution is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph at the end thereof: To provide the resources for quality public education and affordable public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation, all revenues received in accordance with this paragraph shall be expended, subject to appropriation, only for these purposes. In addition to the taxes on income otherwise authorized under this Article, there shall be an additional tax of 4 percent on that portion of annual taxable income in excess of $1,000,000 (one million dollars) reported on any return related to those taxes. To ensure that this additional tax continues to apply only to the commonwealth’s highest income residents, this $1,000,000 (one million dollar) income level shall be adjusted annually to reflect any increases in the cost of living by the same method used for federal income tax brackets. This paragraph shall apply to all tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019.

Alex LachConstitutional Amendment Campaign