The state millionaires surtax is making a comeback.
The Legislature is looking favorably on taking another shot at the measure the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last year struck down.
That proposal was a citizens ballot initiative passed heavily by voters to impose a 4 percent surtax on income above $1 million with the money raised earmarked for education and transportation.
The court ruled the earmark went beyond the scope of the amendment. So, the Legislature is taking matters into its own hands.
It voted 147-48 in a joint session of the House and Senate to move the amendment along.
It needs a second approval next session and then would go before voters in 2022.
The new proposal also calls for the estimated $1.9 billion from the tax to go toward education and transportation, but because it comes from the Legislature it does not have the same restrictions as a citizens’ initiative.
State Rep. Jim Hawkins, D-Attleboro, is an enthusiastic supporter both then and now.
He said state revenue — when adjusted for inflation — is less now than it was 20 years ago.
“That has led to situations like 30 students in a class at Attleboro High School and trains coming off the tracks at the MBTA,” he said.
Hawkins said the surtax will not be levied against working class people.
“Nobody you or I know will get it,” he said.
Instead, only income above $1 million will be subject to a 4 percent surtax above the 5 percent regular income tax.
In other words, a person making $1.1 million will pay an extra $4,000.
But, conservatives — including 10 Democrats — voted against it.
State Rep. Betty Poirier, R-North Attleboro, was one of them, saying she was concerned about creating a two-tiered tax system.
She and others also said there is no guarantee the additional money would go toward supplementing educating and transportation funding rather than just replacing it.
Poirier voted for an amendment to the measure that would have prohibited the funds from being “diverted” to other causes, but it was defeated.
Elsewhere in politics
- Jeff Bailey was elected to be the new chairman of the Attleboro City Republican Committee and is promising to concentrate on consensus issues.
Bailey said he is a social conservative, but the committee is more moderate and he will work for issues the members agree on.
Another priority will be electing more Republicans to the state Legislature, he said.
- Gov. Charlie Baker reportedly is considering running for a third term.
If re-elected, he would tie Michael Dukakis for the longest serving governor, although Dukakis did not serve his 12 years consecutively.
Dukakis won in 1975, lost to Ed King in 1979, then returned for two years from 1983 to 1991.
The governor with the most consecutive years in office, of course, is Levi Lincoln Jr., who toiled for something called the Adams Republican Party from 1825 to 1834.