Massachusetts’s “Millionaires Tax” Struck Down

A proposed ballot question for Massachusetts’s November election has been struck down by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The question, referred to as the “Millionaires Tax”, proposed raising the income tax by 4 percent on income over $1 million. The state Department of Revenue estimated that the tax would generate $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion in additional tax revenues in 2019. The additional tax revenue was earmarked to be spent on education and transportation improvements.

Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the proposed initiative improperly combined multiple unrelated subjects into one initiative, which is a violation of the Massachusetts Constitution anti-logrolling provision. Since there was no articulated common purpose between the three priorities (increased taxes, education spending and transportation spending), and because a voter could conceivably support one or more of those while opposing one or more, they are not “related or mutually dependent.”

Future Appearance

It is important to note that the ballot question was struck down due to the make-up of the question, not due to a graduated tax system being deemed unconstitutional. The so-called “Millionaires Tax” could appear on a future ballot as a standalone consideration without the potential revenue being earmarked for specific improvements.

For more information on the potential implications of a “Millionaires Tax”, please contact us today.

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Jeffrey Arsenault

Jeffrey Arsenault


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