Massachusetts, California both vote on millionaire tax plans

Massachusetts voters aren’t the only ones deciding whether some of the wealthiest residents should be taxed at a higher rate. California also has a similar measure on the ballot. However, the two measures differ in how they introduce the new tax, the amount of the tax, the income threshold at which the tax begins, and how the money would be spent. In California, Proposition 30 asks voters to approve a law that would raise income taxes for residents earning more than $2 million a year by 1.75%. In Massachusetts, Question 1 is a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution that would impose an additional 4% state income tax on that portion of annual taxable income in excess of $1 million. A constitutional amendment is required to amend Article XLIV, which currently includes a requirement that taxes “shall be levied at a uniform rate throughout the commonwealth on income derived from the same class of property.” Prop 30 supporters say 45% of the money would provide rebates and other incentives to the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, 35% for charging stations, with more than half of those funds targeting lower-income communities, and 20% for wildfire prevention programs to help hire and train firefighters. The tax would generate up to $5 billion annually, according to the state Office of Legislative Analysts. Question 1 revenue could raise an estimated $1.2 billion annually in the near term, according to the Executive Office of Management and Finance. That money would go toward spending on public education and transportation infrastructure, but would remain subject to appropriation by the Legislature. Question 1 cannot specify spending strategies because of the “relationship” clause in the state constitution, which requires ballot questions not to be mixed with unrelated issues. in this case taxation and spending. A similar measure was blocked from the 2018 ballot for violating that section. California Governor Gavin Newsom is a vocal opponent of Prop 30 and even appeared in an ad calling the measure Lyft’s “Trojan horse.” The ride-sharing giant is a major proponent of the measure. “They’re creating additional tax pressures on the state because the economy is starting to decline and they’re the recipients of a lot of those dollars being funneled. I can’t in good conscience support that,” Newsom said. Massachusetts’ candidates for governor are split on Question 1. Maura Healey, a Democrat and presumptive front-runner, said she would vote yes. Republican Geoff Diehl said he would vote against the measure. The measures are not the first time voters have been asked to think about taxing the wealthiest at a higher rate. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a $0.02 per dollar tax on those with a net worth of more than $50 million during her aborted 2020 presidential campaign. Election Day is Nov. 8, but both states offer early voting and voting by mail.

Massachusetts voters aren’t the only ones deciding whether some of the wealthiest residents should be taxed at a higher rate. California also has a similar measure on the ballot.

However, the two measures differ in the way they introduce the new tax, the size of the tax, the income threshold at which the tax starts, and how the money would be spent.

In California, Proposition 30 asks voters to approve a law that would raise income taxes for residents earning more than $2 million a year by 1.75%.

In Massachusetts, Question 1 is a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution that would impose an additional 4% state income tax on that portion of annual taxable income in excess of $1 million. A constitutional amendment is required to modify Article XLIV, which currently includes a requirement that taxes “shall be levied at a uniform rate throughout the commonwealth on incomes arising from the same class of property.”

Prop 30 supporters say 45% of the money would provide rebates and other incentives for purchasing zero-emission vehicles, 35% for charging stations with more than half of those funds targeted at lower-income communities, and 20% for wildfire prevention programs. help hire and train firefighters. The tax would generate up to $5 billion annually, according to the state Office of Legislative Analysts.

According to the Executive Office of Management and Finance, Question 1 revenue could raise an estimated $1.2 billion annually in the near future. That money would go toward spending on public education and transportation infrastructure, but would remain subject to appropriation by the Legislature.

Question 1 cannot specify spending strategies because of the “relationship” clause in the state constitution, which requires that ballot questions not be mixed with unrelated topics, in this case taxation and spending. A similar measure was blocked from the 2018 ballot for violating that section.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is a vocal opponent of Prop 30 and even appeared in an ad calling the measure Lyft’s “Trojan horse.” The ride-sharing giant is a major proponent of the measure.

“They’re creating additional tax pressures on the state because the economy is starting to decline and they’re the recipients of a lot of these diverted dollars. I can’t in good conscience support that,” Newsom said.

Massachusetts’ candidates for governor are split on Question 1. Maura Healey, a Democrat and presumptive front-runner, said she would vote yes. Republican Geoff Diehl said he would vote against the measure.

The measures are not the first time voters have been asked to think about taxing the wealthiest at a higher rate. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a $0.02 per dollar tax on those with a net worth of more than $50 million during her aborted 2020 presidential campaign.

Election Day is Nov. 8, but both states offer early and mail-in voting.

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