Page 14 Beacon Hill Roll Call By Bob Katzen By Bob Katzen THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives’ and senators’ votes on roll calls from the week of June 10-14. A note from Bob Katzen to Beacon Hill Roll Call readers: MASSTERLIST IS FREE! Join 17,000 other people from movers and shakers to political junkies and interested citizens who start their morning with a copy of MASSterList! MASSterList is a daily ensemble of news and commentary about the Legislature, Politics, Media and Judiciary of Massachusetts drawn from major news organizations as well as specialized publications selected by widely acclaimed and highly experienced editor Jay Fitzgerald. Jay introduces each article in his own clever and never-boring, inimitable way. Go to: www.massterlist. com/subscribe Type in your e-mail address and in 15 seconds you will be signed up for a free subscription. CON CON VOTES TO TAX MILLIONAIRES ANOTHER 4 PERCENT (H 86) House and Senate held a Constitutional convention and approved 145-48, (House approved 112-43, Senate approved 33-5), a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow a graduated income tax in Massachusetts and impose an additional 4 percent income tax, in addition to the current fl at 5.1 percent one, on taxpayers’ earnings of more than $1 million. Language in the amendment requires that “subject to appropriation” the revenue will go to fund quality public education, aff ordable public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation. The proposal is sponsored by Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Rep. James O’Day (D-West Boylston). In order to go on the ballot for voters to decide, it needs to twice have the votes of 101 of the 200 members of the House and Senate in the current 20192020 session and again in the 2021-2022 session. This vote is the second time for the 20192020 session. The earliest it could be on the ballot is in November 2022. A similar eff ort by a group called the “Raise Up Coalition” to get the question on the 2018 ballot was derailed when it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Judicial Court which said the constitution prohibits placing more than one objective in a single proposed constitutional amendment that is sought by a citizens’ group. The court’s decision noted that the proposal imposed the tax and then stipulates how the money could be spent. The current amendment is proposed by legislators rather than citizens and according to proponents, amendments proposed by legislators can have more than one objective and would not be ruled unconstitutional by the court. Supporters said the amendment will aff ect only 20,000 extremely wealthy individuals and will generate up to $2 billion annually in additional tax revenue. They argued that using the funds for education and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation will benefit millions of Bay State taxpayers. They noted the hike would help lower income families which are now paying a higher share of their income in taxes. Opponents argued the new tax will result in the loss of 9,500 private sector jobs, $405 million annually in personal disposable income and some millionaires moving out of state. They said that the earmarking of the funds for specifi c projects is illegal and said all the funds will go into the General Fund and be up for grabs for anything. “Today marks the start of improved social and economic outcomes for communities across the commonwealth,” said Rep. O’Day. “Moving forward, the Fair Share Amendment will allow our education systems and transportation infrastructure to be strengthened. By reducing the burden placed on low and middle-income families, the Fair Share Amendment will benefi t students, workers, and businesses -- ensuring that the Massachusetts economy continues to grow and thrive.” “Another election must intervene before the second and fi nal vote occurs, in the 2021-22 legislative session, before this constitutional amendment can appear on the 2022 statewide ballot for voters to ultimately decide,” said Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. “Though in Massachusetts it’s highly unlikely, there remains a distant possibility that a turnover in the Legislature in the 2020 election can derail this abomination. Unfortunately, Massachusetts being “The Bluest State,” pigs will likely need to THE REVERE ADVOCATE - Friday, June 21, 2019 fl y fi rst and Hell freeze over “The revenues from the Fair Share Amendment will go a long way to increase funding for public schools, make higher education more aff ordable for students and families, and fi x our state’s crumbling roads, bridges and public transportation,” said Sen Lewis. Today, more than three quarters of legislators voted to advance the Fair Share Amendment, refl ecting the overwhelming public support for this measure. The Fair Share Amendment is the best way to make the investments in our Commonwealth that we desperately need in the fairest way possible.” “The people that will be hurt most by this are the thousands of small businesses across our state that will be slammed by this 80 percent hike,” said Paul Craney, executive director of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance “ It’s your local, independent real estate agent, or the little café on Main Street that will be shouldering the burden of this tax increase, not corporate CEOs.” (A “Yes” vote is for the additional 4 percent tax. A “No” vote is against it.) Rep. Bob DeLeo Yes Rep. RoseLee Vincent Sen. Joseph Boncore Yes Yes REVENUE FROM TAX MUST BE IN ADDITION TO CURRENT FUNDING (H 86) The Constitutional Convention rejected 40-156, (House rejected 34-123. Senate rejected 6-33) an amendment that would require that the revenue generated by the 4 percent tax be in addition to the amount of funding for education and transportation that the Legislature already spends on those two areas. Amendment supporters said this will prevent a “bait and switch” scenario in which $2 billion in new revenue from the 4 percent tax is dedicated to transportation and education but then the Legislature takes money out of the money currently spent in those areas and spends it elsewhere. The net result would be that the $2 billion is essentially spent in other areas rather than the two promised ones. Amendment opponents said that the voters have already been educated on this exact amendment the House is considering. They argued that to make changes at this stage is against the democratic imperative of making sure the voters are educated on this and would raise we raise legal issues. “The language in the underlying amendment is what has been vetted and researched over the past several years,” said Rep. O’Day, who opposed the amendment. “It has a very narrow scope. Any additions would change what the will of the people demanded with the underlying amendment.” “The claim that my amendment would somehow confuse voters and would raise legal issues is ludicrous,” said House amendment sponsor GOP Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading.) “All the amendment says is that the revenues raised through the new surtax must be used to supplement state spending on education and transportation, not supplant it. The voters of the commonwealth are being sold a false bill of goods because without this clarifying language, there are no guarantees the Legislature will actually increase spending on our schools and transportation infrastructure. The Legislature doesn’t have a great track record for respecting the will of the voters on tax issues, and my fear is that voters are being set up for a baitand-switch.” (A “Yes” vote is for the amendment. A “No” vote is against it.) Rep. Bob DeLeo No Rep. RoseLee Vincent No Sen. Joseph Boncore No ALLOW LEGISLATURE TO LOWER THE 4 PERCENT TAX (H 86) The Constitutional Convention rejected 41-155, (House rejected 35-122. Senate rejected 6-33) an amendment that would eliminate the permanent 4 percent surtax and instead designate that the Legislature can set the tax which can be up to 4 percent but can be lower and even as low as zero percent. Amendment supporters said putting the permanent 4 percent tax in the constitution is a bad policy because it would take four years to repeal the tax if the Legislature and/or voters feel that it was a mistake to raise it. They said the amendment would put the power in the hands of the Legislature which could repeal it quickly. “If circumstances change or we see that there is significant out-migration among the 20,000 or so who would be subject to the millionaire’s tax, [this amendment] would allow the Legislature to take mitigating actions,” said Rep. Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich), the sponsor of the amendment. “Without [it], it’s a fouryear process to “re-amend” the constitution.” Amendment opponents said that the voters have already become familiar with the exact amendment the House is considering. They argued that to make changes wouldn’t make sense and is unfair to the voters. (A “Yes” vote is for the amendment. A “No” vote is against it.) Rep. Bob DeLeo No Rep. RoseLee Vincent No Sen. Joseph Boncore No LOWER THE TAX RATE FOR TAXPAYERS EARNING UNDER $100,000 (H 86) The Constitutional Convention rejected 41-155 (House rejected 35-122, Senate rejected 6-33), an amendment that would eliminate the permanent 4 percent surtax and instead designate that the Legislature can set the tax which can be up to 4 percent but can be lower, and even as low as zero percent. The amendment also provides for some tax relief by lowering the rate for taxpayers who earn less than $100,000. The rate would be reduced by 50 percent of the rate of the millionaire’s tax for that year. Amendment supporters said the state’s tax system is regressive and that this amendment will reduce taxes for low-income and lowermiddle-class taxpayers. They gave an example of how it would work. If the Legislature imposes the highest 4 percent surtax, the current 5 percent income tax rate for people who earn less than $100,000 would fall to 3 percent. Amendment opponents said that the House should stay with the language of the amendment as written because voters have been well informed on it and changing the amendment would be unfair. (A “Yes” vote is for the amendment. A “No” vote is against it.) Rep. RoseLee Vincent Sen. Joseph Boncore Rep. Bob DeLeo No No No HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been fi led. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late-night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozBEACON | SEE PAGE 17

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