September 29, 2022

TUFTS CENTER FOR STATE POLICY ANALYSIS FINDS FLAWS IN QUESTION 1’S PROPOSED TAX HIKE AMENDMENT


A recent report from third-party, nonpartisan policy experts uncovered massive deficiencies in Question 1 on the ballot this November, asserting that the funds generated from the tax hike will not increase spending in key areas and will be incredibly difficult to reverse. The Tufts Center for State Policy Analysis’ study reaffirmed the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment’s warnings that the language of the ballot question is incredibly deceptive to voters.

If passed, Question 1 would be one of the state’s highest-ever proposed tax increases at a time when our state already has the biggest budget surplus in its history. Proponents falsely claim the revenue generated from the tax hike is guaranteed to increase spending in education and transportation, however, the Tufts report maintains that the proposed tax increase would not guarantee increases in education or transportation spending, and that the projections communicated by proponents have been significantly oversized.

The report forecasts that only 30 to 70 cents of each dollar of the proposed revenue would go to education or transportation – the remainder being “effectively diverted to other areas of the budget.” This assertion was confirmed by Attorney General Maura Healey in 2018 who maintained that the language of the bill would allow “the Legislature to choose to reduce funding in [education and transportation] from other sources and replace it with the new surtax revenue.

“We are pleased that the Tufts Center for State Policy Analysis reaffirmed what the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment has known from the beginning: that Question 1 is deceptive,” said Dan Cence, Spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment. “Their report confirms the revenue generated from this unnecessary tax will be “likely to get diverted to other areas,” giving lawmakers a blank check with no accountability. The study also acknowledges the permanency of this type of constitutional amendment, and how it will be harder to unwind if and when there are unintended consequences.”

The report also underscored the long-term risks posed by enacting this tax hike as a constitutional amendment. Unlike ballot questions by citizens’ petition, a constitutional amendment is incredibly difficult to reverse. Tufts agreed with this in their report, warning, “If … the tax doesn’t work as expected, a full fix may require years, because changing the state constitution is a very involved process.”

If voters choose to remove an important taxpayer protection from our Constitution, not only will it take years to reverse, but a dangerous precedent will be set and the door will be open for politicians to create additional tax brackets and higher rates over time.

Question 1 is an ill-conceived constitutional amendment and would badly hurt our state’s economy, targeting hardworking residents and threatening small businesses across the Commonwealth. The Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment is comprised of hundreds of individuals, retirees, veterans, small business owners, large employers, and community organizations who know that now is not the time to raise taxes, and are urging Massachusetts to Vote No on Question 1. Learn more at www.noquestion1.com.

Contact: DJ Cence, djc@issuesgroup.com 508-665-7919