Decision 2022

Massachusetts Ballot Question 1, Explained: The Proposed ‘Millionaire's Tax'

The first question on voters' 2022 ballots asks if residents want to create a "Millionaire's Tax" in Massachusetts

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Commonly known as the "Millionaire's Tax" or the "Fair Share Amendment," Question 1 on Massachusetts' 2022 general election ballots would amend the state constitution to apply an extra 4% tax on all residents' personal income over $1 million.

For example, someone with a personal income of $1.5 million would have their first million taxed by Massachusetts at the current rate of 5%, or $50,000. The additional $500,000 would be taxed at 9%, which is $45,000. If the law passed, that would be $20,000 more than what this person would pay now.

The projected $1.5 billion raised by the new taxes would be targeted for education and transportation spending.

However there is a question around whether the Legislature would shuffle budget allocations around so that there wouldn't actually be an increase in spending on education transportation, political reporter Alison King said on NBC10 Boston's political podcast, "Countdown to Decision 2022."

"People who are skeptics of what goes on on Beacon Hill might wonder about that," King said.

For more on this and other issues, listen to our election podcast, "Countdown to Decision 2022."

The ballot question was challenged by a business group and others who said that its wording, that revenues raised by the surtax would be spent of education and transportation, is “completely misleading.” But the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that the wording is legal, allowing it to go before voters in November.

The "Fair Share Amendment" would put an extra 4% on any Massachusetts resident's personal income over $1 million.

Evan Horowitz, executive director of Tufts University’s Center for State Policy Analysis, said the group's assessment is that approximately 30 to 70 cents of every dollar raised by the tax will drive increased spending in the earmarked areas.

"Are there technical sides to it? Yes, sure," Horowitz said. "But at least there's a kind of core question that touches voters' values about tax fairness, inequality and the role of the state in addressing these issues."

The proposal is being pushed by Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of labor unions, community organizations and religious groups.

The wording of Ballot Question 1 as it appears on Massachusetts voters 2022 general election ballots.
Mass. Secretary of State
The wording of Ballot Question 1 as it appears on Massachusetts voters' 2022 general election ballots.
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