Fair Share Amendment won’t work, according to free market think tank

A plan to change the state constitution to allow extra taxes on any dollar earned over $1 million would result in workers fleeing the state and would not have the positive impact proponents of the change claim, according to a new book by published by the Pioneer Institute.

“This is no time to threaten Massachusetts’ prospects for an immediate economic recovery from a once-in-a-century pandemic. The long-term economic competitiveness of the commonwealth rests on a precarious point,” the free market think tank asserts in his new book, “Back to Taxachusetts?”

In November, voters will be asked if they think income earned over $1 million should be hit with an extra surtax at the rate of 4%. Called the Fair Share Amendment, the law would change the state’s constitution if passed, and, according to authors Greg Sullivan, Andrew Mikula and Liam Day, would have results already seen in other states like California and Connecticut.

“Our neighbor to the south provides strong evidence of the likely result of adopting the amendment: Connecticut is still recovering from more than a decade of ‘soak the rich’ policies,” the authors write. “Between 2008 and 2020 it ranked 48th among the states in both private-sector wage and job growth.”

During those years, due to high taxes, people fled the state and went where their retirements would last longer, the authors write.

“The decision by some of the state’s wealthiest families to move elsewhere has contributed to a decline in tax revenue that has only deepened Connecticut’s latest budget crisis,” the authors said.

Further, the group says, the money raised by the tax won’t be spent on education and transportation, as advocates say.

“On its face, the proposed amendment only requires that the specific revenue raised by the tax be earmarked to education and transportation. It says nothing about the total amount spent on those two priorities,” the authors write.

Cover of Back to Taxachusetts?: How the proposed tax amendment would upend one of the nation's best economies,
Cover of Back to Taxachusetts?: How the proposed tax amendment would upend one of the nation’s best economies,” the new book by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute. (Cover image courtesy Pioneer Institute)

Stephen Crawford, a spokesperson for Fair Share for Massachusetts, the campaign advocating for the amendment, says that Pioneer’s new book should be taken with a grain of salt.

“The Pioneer Institute is a well-financed tool of the incredibly wealthy that is funded by out-of-state anti-government radicals and some of the richest residents of Massachusetts. Pioneer’s so-called research is frequently incorrect or deliberately misleading,” Crawford said.

Further, according to Crawford, voters don’t need to wonder where the money will go.

“The money raised by the Fair Share Amendment is constitutionally guaranteed to go to education and transportation. That guarantee was acknowledged by Justice Scott L. Kafker of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court during oral argument on the amendment on May 4,” he told the Herald.

“It’s up to voters to recognize the potential dangers posed by the ballot initiative and the misinformation spread by its proponents,” the book authors write.

A person making $1 million per year or less would pay no extra under the tax, and a person making $1.1 million would pay $4,000 more in taxes that year, according to supporters.

“The facts are that only the highest-income 1% will pay anything extra under the Fair Share Amendment. If you don’t earn over $1 million in a single year, you won’t be impacted,” Crawford said.

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