In a much-anticipated decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court this morning struck from the November ballot a proposal to place a 4 percent income tax surcharge on incomes above $1 million.
The proposed constitutional amendment was expected to raise about $2 billion per year in new revenue, which was to be dedicated to transportation and education.
The SJC agreed with the business groups who had challenged the question in court, determining that the wording is unconstitutional in part because it contains provisions that are not “related or mutually dependent.” In other words, the SJC concluded that the imposition of a graduated income tax and the earmarked subjects of education and transportation were too dissimilar, and the ballot question would put voters in the difficult position of casting a single vote on two or more unrelated subjects.
Advocates for K-12 public education and transportation were hopeful that the question would pass muster with the SJC, particularly given that the language had earlier been approved by the Attorney General’s Office. The advocates argued that transportation and education are linked as “the keys to social mobility” and as “chronically underfunded government services.”
Read the full SJC decision