State’s Supreme Judicial Court to hear arguments on millionaire’s tax
May 3, 2022
By: Matthew Medsger
The state’s Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday concerning the wording of a ballot question which would ask voters if they think incomes over $1 million should be taxed at a higher rate.
“It is extremely important, especially in the context of an amendment to the state constitution, that voters have a complete understanding of the effect of a ‘yes’ vote. The current summary of the proposed amendment fails to fully inform voters,” Daniel Ryan, an attorney with Sullivan & Worcester, told the Herald on Tuesday. Ryan’s firm has filed a brief on behalf of a group supporting the suit.
“The proposed amendment will not necessarily increase funding for education and transportation. The Attorney General’s summary fails to inform voters of this important consideration. The Legislature could decide to use only the proceeds from the additional tax to fund education and transportation to current levels, and not increase funding in those areas at all,” Ryan said in an emailed statement.
The Mass. High Tech Council’s President, Chris Anderson, filed a lawsuit against the attorney general in March alleging that the 2022 ballot question is misleading voters.
The ballot question, proposing a so-called “millionaire’s tax” but officially titled the “Fair Share amendment,” would amend the state constitution to add a 4% tax on incomes over $1 million in a given year. Proponents say the question is straight forward.
“The Attorney General’s summary correctly describes what the Fair Share Amendment will do. People who earn more than a million dollars in a single year, who currently pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than the rest of us, will pay a little more,” a spokesperson for the Fair Share Campaign, the group behind the ballot question, told the Herald Tuesday.
“Voters will hear a lot of misinformation over the next few months, but our focus is talking to voters across the state about how the Fair Share Amendment will improve our schools, roads, bridges, buses, and trains,” the spokesperson said.
Last week the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Pioneer Legal, the New England Legal Foundation and the Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research filed amicus briefs saying that they agree.
“One element of misinformation that is now in play is that if this question passes — the money will be spent on education and transportation. That’s not true, it’s the intent of the proponents, but the language cannot bind a future legislator to do that,” James Rooney, chamber president, told the Herald.
Oral arguments begin at 9 a.m. and will be held virtually. The Attorney General’s office would not comment on pending litigation beyond their filed court briefs.