WILMINGTON, MA — Below is a press release from State Rep. Dave Robertson’s Office and a response from the Mass. Fiscal Alliance, the entity behind the social media campaign Robertson believes is misleading.
Press Release From State Rep. Dave Robertson
Over the past few days, a number of constituents have called my office or stopped me to discuss a robo-call they had received, or a social media campaign they’d seen, that claimed “an 80 percent tax increase” was supposedly railroaded through a constitutional convention in a secretive manner, supported by me. Perhaps what should have been said instead, which is the true story, is that I voted to approve a ballot question allowing voters to make their opinions heard on raising the tax on income over the million-dollar-a-year mark from 5.1 to 9.1% on the 2022 ballot. That is the honest truth and you can put your faith in it; I voted to let you make your voices heard in the most direct and democratic process imaginable, and to them, that is somehow unforgiveable.
Firstly, for those who may not have followed the Fair Share Amendment question, which the special interests group is calling a “tax raise on you,” the proposed amendment is a proposal to tax individuals earning over $1 million dollars a year in income (or 83,000 a month) at 9.1% any earnings over a million dollars. While this is an 80 percent increase it would apply only on dollar one-million-and-one and upwards of income, not at a rate of 80 percent. This money, if approved by the voters is earmarked solely for education and transportation within communities. It cannot be used for pet projects or wasteful spending but rather only towards helping pay off schools, incorporating unincorporated streets, and providing special needs services. Assets would not count. Tewksbury and Wilmington each have about a dozen individuals this would apply to, according to the 2016 Department of Revenue data.
So now that you know the truth you, are probably wondering, “Why am I receiving this call if what it’s saying has already happened, has not and will not occur?” That’s a great question. To put it plainly, it’s a blatant use of scare tactics to at misconstrue truth and at worst, deliberately spread misinformation. The initiative that the robo-call concerned, polled popularly in Massachusetts just last year, with WBUR reporting 77% of those in favor of the question at one point. Over 150,000 people signed the initial petition to get the ballot initiative up for a vote in 2018, but the special interest group that paid for the aforementioned robo-callf fought this initiative from ending up on the ballot in 2018. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in their favor, not on legality, but on technicality, saying that such a large question needed to be divided. Even one of the chief plaintiffs in the case stated upon victory “This case was not about whether a graduated income tax is good public policy or bad public policy, it was about how the proponents tried to achieve it.” So now with their temporary victory behind them and popular opinion moving the issue forward, they call up you to make an utterly baseless claim that a tax of 80% is headed to be set on you…
Personally I see this as an opportunity to reduce taxes for those in the working and middle classes. Wilmington’s 2016 average income per capita was $43,302 and Tewksbury’s was $39,329 meaning people subject to the tax that this ballot initiative would put in place earn the average yearly income of a local resident’s income in about 2 weeks. By using this state money to offset local costs, our towns can contain our property tax rates and subsequently provide superior services. Others disagree, and have great concerns, and I believe should have a chance to state their case. Hence why I voted for this initiative to appear as a ballot question, and one that could be debated and decided directly by the citizens of the Commonwealth.
During my campaign, I pledged myself to always be honest and accessible while in office, and I hope that by telling you the truth on this issue I am doing so. I will always support an opportunity for the voters of Tewksbury and Wilmington to make their voices heard on an issue that impacts them directly. I would never support a tax of 80%, nor an increase on the working and middle class folks who are the real job creators. So, in the unlikely event you get a real person from these special interest groups on the phone ask them why they don’t want you to have a direct voice in the future of the state, and why they won’t tell you the straightforward truth. I bet you if you do, you won’t be called again.
Response From Mass. Fiscal Alliance
Where to even begin with this? It sounds more like a fairytale than reality. MassFiscal has social media ads on Facebook educating the public on next week’s vote on June 12. I can’t speak to whatever other claims he’s making. Lawmakers will vote to begin the long process of amending the state constitution to add a 80% tax increase to some taxpayers.
The graduated income tax is nothing new, in fact, past failed attempts to remove the state constitutional guarantee of equal taxation has failed five times. Below is how Tewksbury and Wilmington voters voted on it during the last three opportunities (the earlier years are not available on the state website).
Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states that have a flat tax and it’s one of the main reasons why our state stays relatively economically competitive. Adding a 80% tax increase to our state’s high earners would only drive them out of state, which would then put the state at economic disadvantage. Just look at what happened in Connecticut as proof. Once the constitutional guarantee is removed, which is what Rep. Robertson is advocating for, lawmakers can then tax other tax brackets. If you believe politicians would spend years working to change the state constitution, just so that they can only pass an 80% tax increase on high earners and no one else, then you are truly gullible.
Massachusetts taxpayers cannot afford a 80% tax increase, and it’s unfortunate Rep. Robertson is working so hard to change the state constitution that protects taxpayers from tax hike schemes like this.
(Editor’s Note: Wilmington Apple has not heard the robocall or seen the social media campaign in question. Please note that Mass. Fiscal Alliance has said it is not associated with any sort of robocall. If you received the robocall in question, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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