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Baker lends voice to opponents of income surtax – Boston News, Weather, Sports – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-09-16 18:16:27 –

Governor Charlie Baker has criticized the proposal for an additional income tax on wealthy households scheduled to go in front of voters next year in response to a new report warning of the upcoming “financial disaster” at MBTA, and how much the idea is. I wondered if it would generate money for me. What could those incomes be used for?

Baker said Thursday that he had not reconsidered his opposition to the proposal, warning that its passage could leave high-income residents and businesses from Massachusetts, and that transportation and education as proponents intended. I questioned whether I could allocate income to my needs.

“If you’ve learned something in the last 18 months and it certainly appears in your future work studies, people can work from anywhere,” Baker told GBH’s Boston Public Radio. He said in an interview. “Companies can be placed anywhere, and many can succeed in doing so, as if everyone went to the office and everyone lived in the same place.”

“When you think about how much to raise from something like a fair share tax, you need to be very careful about it,” Republican Baker added.

The proposed constitutional amendment (S 5) imposes an additional 4% tax on annual household income in excess of $ 1 million. The proposal states that “providing resources for quality public education and affordable public universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transport, all income received in accordance with this paragraph will be appropriated. Suppose that it is spent on the condition that it is for these purposes only. “

Proponents estimate that it could generate as much as $ 2 billion annually, bringing significant revenue to the state budget approaching the $ 50 billion milestone. The $ 2 billion estimate dates back to 2015.

Baker argued on Thursday that half of Sir Tax’s income could not be devoted to transportation and half to education, and the money was “general spending that people could spend on what they wanted. Insisted that it would be “money.”

He is in the Supreme Court 2018 ruling It soared the previous version of the question from the ballot because it improperly combined the proposal to implement a gradual income tax and direct spending on education and transportation.

“I may be wrong about this, but my memory was the main reason SJC said it was unconstitutional because I couldn’t write the law under the Constitution,” Baker said. Told. “I can’t say that this tax should be raised to fund these programs, which deprives the state legislature, the basic spending agency.”

Both supporters and opponents are subject to the same type of legal agenda in this cycle, as the currently proposed constitutional amendment reached the ballot through the legislative process, not as a citizen-sponsored constitutional amendment. It states that it will not be.

“This is another animal because it’s a legislative voting initiative, not a petition for a citizen initiative,” said Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation Chairman Irene McCanny, who last challenged the additional tax in court. Told to.

The Massachusetts affiliate said it was one of the other plaintiffs alongside the MTF and the Massachusetts High-Technology Council and was not considering another proceeding on Thursday.

Baker also rejected the idea of ​​proposing to use that income to address the shortfall in T, as it would take more than a year for voters to consider the possibility of a constitutional amendment. You shouldn’t spend money you don’t have. “

Some Democrats running for Baker’s work have already factored in what supporters have dubbed the fair share revision into their policy plans.Former Senator Ben Downing suggestion Senator Sonia Chandias uses bill revenue to cover free public transport and major infrastructure upgrades I was asked Publicly funded kindergartens, expansion of behavioral medical services at schools, and public university tuition subsidy programs are partly paid with additional taxes.

Baker’s comment came hours after the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation Publish the report Predict the imminent financial crisis at MBTA.

T received approximately $ 2 billion in federal COVID-19 aid, but report authors estimate that MBTA is likely to face a gap between sustainable operations and capital budgets as soon as 2023. Did.

The MTF may require T to require an additional $ 500 million in annual revenue for its operating budget and an additional $ 700-800 million in dedicated revenue to cover the debt of the capital project. I estimated.

“Despite all the reforms, restructuring, and revenues put into the system, we are faced with the harsh reality that MBTA’s finances have never been fundamentally fixed,” MTF writes. “You have to ask: how long can T work without a complete financial overhaul?”

Proponents of the ballot question quickly linked the disastrous predictions to their proposed income tax.

“Liberal and conservative researchers say MBTA operates trains, buses and commuter trains at no cost, investing in the latest infrastructure needed for faster and more reliable services, critical infrastructure. The structure is the impact of climate change, “said Andrew Farnitano, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Bay Union, who is working to pass a constitutional amendment. “Temporary budget surpluses and federal assistance are inadequate. Massachusetts has invested in state-wide MBTA and regional transportation to provide sustainable funding for repairing roads, bridges and tunnels. I need it. The answer is a fair share fix. “

“The only” financial disaster “T is facing is the old-fashioned regressive notion that public transport passengers should be expected to pay fares,” said Democrat Mike Connolly of the Cambridge Democratic Party. Is. ” Tweet.. “We need to tax rich and large corporations to fund public transport services, upgrades, and expansions.”

Massachusetts Bay, where the group wrote a report on MBTA’s budget pressure and fought the income tax issue in 2018, said MTF’s findings on T did not change her view of constitutional amendment. ..

“You can support income for transportation, and I don’t agree that income taxes are a way around it, that’s our position,” she said.

Fare revenues typically account for about one-third of T’s operating revenues, and the sharp drop in passenger numbers during a pandemic has exacerbated the financial outlook that is already straining transportation. In the early days of the public health crisis, passenger numbers in all modes fell to a fraction of the previous average, delaying the return of commuters.

As of the end of August, a spokeswoman for T said that as of the end of August, the number of passengers on the subway was about 42% of the average on weekdays in August 2019, the number of passengers on the bus was about 60% of the previous standard, and the number of passengers on the commuter train. Was about 30% of the pre-pandemic level. Served on Thursday.

According to Baker, the “biggest question about ridership” is about the number of employees returning to the office and the number of companies that continue to employ hybrid or fully remote work.

He added that other sources of funding remain undeveloped. Legislative leaders are still deciding how to spend nearly $ 5 billion on U.S. rescue planning legislation and a significant budget surplus, but Washington can devote large amounts of money to transportation. We are negotiating a federal infrastructure bill.

“There are a lot of resources here in the state, and the big open question about how and how to deploy those resources is what happens to ridership, and Congress and It is available to some extent depending on how others decide to spend the money, “says Baker. “The federal part is big. It’s really big. Even the smallest bipartisan bill in the infrastructure bill is a very important resource for the federal for transportation. I don’t think it should panic yet. increase.”

(Copyright (c) 2021 State Capitol News Agency.

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