BOSTON – The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition of community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions today released the following statement regarding the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Anderson v. Healey, a challenge to the certification of the proposed Fair Share Amendment to appear on the ballot this November:
“We are incredibly disappointed that a few wealthy corporate executives and their lobbyists brought this lawsuit that blocked the right of Massachusetts voters to amend our state’s constitution. It is stunning that these business groups would overturn the will of the more than 157,000 voters who signed petitions to qualify the Fair Share Amendment for the ballot, and of two overwhelming majorities in consecutive Constitutional Conventions.
“This decision does not change the fact that Massachusetts desperately needs major investments in our schools and colleges, our roads and bridges, and our public transportation systems. It does not change the fact that our wealthiest residents can afford to pay a little more to make those investments.
“While we determine our next steps, the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition remains strongly committed to winning a $15 minimum wage and paid family and medical leave for all Massachusetts workers this year, in the Legislature or on the ballot.”
The Fair Share Amendment would have amended the Massachusetts Constitution to create an additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income that is above $1 million. The new revenue generated by the tax, approximately $1.9 billion in 2019 dollars, would have been spent on quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation. To ensure that the tax continues to apply only to the highest-income residents, the $1 million threshold would have been adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases.
In 2015, the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition of community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions collected over 157,000 signatures to begin the process of amending the Massachusetts Constitution, all without using paid signature gathering companies. In May 2016 and again in June 2017, the state legislature, meeting jointly in a Constitutional Convention, voted overwhelmingly to advance the citizen’s initiative proposal and place it on the 2018 ballot. No legislator who voted for the Fair Share Amendment lost their seat in the November 2016 general election, demonstrating the Fair Share Amendment’s high level of support among voters.
Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions committed to building an economy that works for all of us, collected signatures in 2013 and 2014 on behalf of two ballot initiatives: raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers. In June 2014, the Legislature passed and the governor signed legislation giving Massachusetts the highest statewide minimum wage in the country. Raise Up Massachusetts then led the campaign to ensure access to earned sick time for all workers in the Commonwealth by passing Question 4 in November 2014. Now, Raise Up Massachusetts is working to create a paid family and medical leave program, raise the Massachusetts minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, and pass the Fair Share Amendment to invest in transportation and public education with a tax on annual income above $1 million. Learn more at raiseupma.org.