Vol. III No. 19 10/1/2022
How can MA voters help communities across the state fund their transportation and education needs?
by Anita Schwerner
The answer is that on November 8 Massachusetts voters need to vote Yes on Question #1, The Fair Share Amendment. The Fair Share Amendment creates an additional tax of 4 cents on every dollar of personal income over $1 million in addition to the flat rate tax. Over 99% of taxpayers will not pay any additional tax. It's time for millionaires to pay their fair share of taxes for the common good. The additional revenue collected can constitutionally be spent only on transportation and public education. The Department of Revenue estimates that the state will receive approximately $2 billion a year from the Fair Share Amendment.
Communities across the state are struggling to find a way to increase revenue other than through property taxes and local fees. The Fair Share Amendment is a solution that will provide an ongoing sustainable source of funding for public education and transportation. The infrastructure funding can be used to improve and repair roads, bridges, tunnels and public transportation. Funding for public schools from pre-K through higher education will be available for repairs to schools, educational programs, fair salaries for staff and teachers as well as higher education tuition.
These are issues that are being felt statewide and Berkshire County is no exception. The MA Department of Transportation's database identifies 644 structurally deficient bridges in the state. According to an 8/31/2022 MA Budget & Policy Center report "the Berkshire and Hill Towns contain 1,116 bridges, of which 91 (7.5%) are structurally deficient." Driving locally I see ongoing road work as well as bridges that have been under repair and/or closed for years. It's possible that some bridges may never be repaired, for example the historic Curtisville Bridge in Stockbridge.
In rural areas where the population is spread out, the regional transportation system is often insufficient for those who don't drive. An increase in reliable transportation systems would improve job opportunities as well as the ability to get to essential services.
Passage of the Fair Share Amendment will provide the ongoing funding that is needed statewide for transportation and public education.
Vote yes on Question #1 and help pass the Fair Share Amendment!! Your vote will make a difference.
Child's play. Photo: Patrick White