Getting Answers: Question 1 - Millionaire’s tax
AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- It’s not just candidates that Massachusetts voters are choosing as we approach election day next week. There are four ballot questions as well.
Western Mass News spoke with Ray La Raja, a political science professor at UMass Amherst, who broke down Question 1 on the ballot and what voting yes or no means.
“If you have income in a given year that exceeds a million, you have to pay more taxes than usual…Right now, we pay at a flat rate. They want to change that,” La Raja said.
This would be a four percent state income tax increase on any additional amount that people make in income over a million dollars. That money would be used to fund public education and transportation. La Raja told us the support for this comes as many in the state believe it would affect a very small slice of Massachusetts residents.
“People saying ‘Is this going to affect me?’ and the ‘Yes’ supporters are convinced that no, it’s not,” La Raja explained.
He said among those in opposition are many small businesses, family farmers, homeowners, and retirees who are afraid this could hurt them.
“Some of them could feel ‘Wow, this is going to affect me. I sell my business in one year and I make over $1 million. I don’t usually make over a million dollars, but I did this year and I have to pay extra taxes on it?’ So that’s upsetting to people who have their own businesses, privately held,” La Raja said.
If it passes, La Raja says those impacted might move to other states like Florida or New Hampshire where they don’t tax on income. When it comes to young voters who do not have large assets that are taxable, he believes they will vote ‘Yes.’
“For young voters, they might say I could make it big at some point. I don’t know where I’m going to live, but the ‘Yes’ supporters promise that this will be used to pay for investing in infrastructure and education and all things that benefit…so my guess and again, more young people tend to be more liberal because they see it through that partisan lens, they will be supporting of this,” La Raja noted.
La Raja said one of the main goals is to create a steady stream of funding for schools and infrastructure, but it also comes back to the argument of everyone paying their fair share
“That is a real philosophical question. What is a fair share and that is a healthy debate to have and we are doing it right now in Massachusetts,” La Raja added.
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