The Massachusetts House and Senate approved a constitutional amendment on June 12th that would impose a 4.0% income surtax on top of the existing 5.05% flat state income tax for individuals, families, and small businesses earning more than $1,000,000 annually (representing a 79% rate increases). The good news for Massachusetts taxpayers is this tax hike will not take effect any time soon and there are still opportunities to stop it.

In order for a constitutional amendment to take effect in Massachusetts, both chambers of the Massachusetts legislature must pass the amendment in two consecutive legislative sessions, after which it is subject to a vote of the people in the form of a statewide ballot measure.  

Massachusetts is a blue state known for electing Democrats to office, yet voters have declined similar progressive income tax hikes five times over the past 30 years

“Some lawmakers think history started in 2019,” said Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance’s Paul Craney, “but this policy idea is the most rejected in the state’s history.”

Lawmakers in the Bay State plan to redistribute the revenue raised by this tax hike towards infrastructure reparation, public transportation, and public education.

In a June 13th Lowell Sun article, sponsor of the amendment Representative James O’Day (D) said, “The Massachusetts economy is working great for those in the upper 1%, but the time is now for all residents to reap the benefits of what this great state can accomplish through the revenue of the fair share amendment.”

While Representative O’Day markets the proposed “millionaire’s tax” as a way to soak the rich, the reality is it would hit thousands of small businesses across Massachusetts. In an article for Forbes, Patrick Gleason wrote,

According to IRS data, more than 529,000 Massachusetts sole proprietors, along with 184,000 S-Corps shareholders and partners filed under the individual income tax system in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, and more than 15,000 of those small business owners would be hit by the progressive income tax hike proposed by Senator Lewis as a way to soak the rich.”

Massachusetts legislators will need to pass the millionaire’s tax hike once more in the next legislative session. Concerned taxpayers should contact their representative on Beacon Hills and urge them to vote against this misguided tax hike. If lawmakers pass the amendment again, then voters will vote directly on the proposal in 2022 when it will appear on the state’s ballot.