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Mass. Lawmakers Advance Wealth Surtax To Next Session With 147-48 Vote

The gold dome of the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The gold dome of the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to advance a 4 percent surtax on income above $1 million, advancing the so-called "millionaires tax" one step closer to a possible statewide ballot vote in 2022.

Meeting jointly in a Constitutional Convention, House and Senate members voted 147-48 in favor of the amendment (H 86) to the state constitution. The House voted 112-43, and the Senate voted 35-6 to pass the amendment.

Lawmakers batted down recommended changes to the proposal before agreeing to the constitutional amendment. The measure will need to be passed again at a Constitutional Convention in the 2021-2022 session in order to go before voters at the November 2022 election.

Under the amendment, revenue generated by the surtax would be directed toward education and transportation needs.

Supporters said the state's wealthiest residents can afford to pay more to help the state address its needs, while opponents predicted the $2 billion estimated to flow from the surtax will not materialize because wealthy people will leave the state.

The House Democrats who joined Republicans in opposing the amendment were Reps. Brian Ashe of Longmeadow, Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester, Michael Finn of West Springfield, William Galvin of Canton, Colleen Garry of Dracut, Danielle Gregoire of Marlborough, Christopher Markey of Dartmouth, Thomas Petrolati of Ludlow, Angelo Puppolo of Springfield, John Velis of Westfield, and Jonathan Zlotnik of Gardner.

Sen. Patrick O'Connor, a Weymouth Republican, was the only senator to cross party lines in the vote, casting his vote for the income surtax.

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