Income surtax not up for debate on Wednesday

Boston Statehouse

FILE – This Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 file photo shows part of a 1040 federal tax form printed from the Internal Revenue Service website. (Associated Press)

BOSTON (SHNS) – State lawmakers will gavel in a new Constitutional Convention on Wednesday, but debate will have to wait on a major tax measure that’s one vote away from the 2022 ballot.

Senate President Karen Spilka presides at the joint session, which is scheduled for 1 p.m., and her office on Tuesday confirmed that the proposed constitutional amendment adding a 4 percent surtax on household income above $1 million per year will not be taken up on Wednesday.

“We do not anticipate taking up the fair share amendment at tomorrow’s scheduled joint session,” a Spilka spokesperson told the News Service. “The Senate President continues to support the proposal and recognizes its long-standing popularity with Massachusetts residents. To that end, the Senate will work closely with our partners in the House on scheduling a future date this year to take up the proposal.”

Last week, surtax proponent Rep. James O’Day speculated that the measure may emerge for debate in September, October or November. Lawmakers meeting during the last legislative session advance the measure on a 147-48 vote.

Supporters would need a second vote with at least 101 members voting in favor to put the amendment before voters statewide. Proponents say the measure will ensure that the state’s wealthiest households pay their “fair share” toward public services and plan to invest roughly $2 billion in education and transportation.

Opponents say passage of the measure will send wealth and capital to lower-cost states and assert that introduction of a graduated income tax structure could eventually lead to tax increases for people in other income brackets.

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