Vote ‘Yes’ on the Fair Share Amendment ballot measure in November

Massachusetts and Berkshire County have many education and transportation needs that the Fair Share Amendment could help us address.

To the editor:

It’s about time that millionaires and billionaires paid their fair share of taxes.

That’s why I support the Fair Share Amendment, which is on the Massachusetts ballot in November. This ballot measure would create a 4 percent tax on a person’s annual income above $1 million. The resulting state funds, estimated at $2 billion a year, would be used to improve our schools and colleges, repair our roads and bridges, and invest in other public infrastructure.

The education aspect of this bill is a no-brainer. Five years ago, a report showed that Massachusetts had the fastest-growing public college costs in the country. Four-year public college costs just for tuition and fees averaged $11,420 for in-state residents, an 18 percent increase over 2012 costs. Since then, these costs have risen another 10 percent to $12,584. Raising more money from wealthy people who can well afford it could slow the growth of tuition costs and keep college education affordable for our residents. It would also provide additional funding to rescue failing secondary schools in Boston, Pittsfield, and other cities.

Our physical infrastructure in Berkshire County also needs more funding, and fast. Despite the new federal funding for infrastructure, which will eventually reach our county, too little is being done to fix our roads and bridges. Ask anyone in Great Barrington, for instance, about the seemingly endless delay in replacing the Division St. and Cottage St. bridges.

Then there is the western Massachusetts rail expansion that will hopefully provide rail service from Boston to Pittsfield. A new $11.4 billion infrastructure bond bill just signed by Gov. Baker includes $275 million to jump-start the project. But estimates of how much the expansion will cost range from $2.4 billion to $4.6 billion. Fair Share tax money could help close that enormous gap.

Massachusetts and Berkshire County have many education and transportation needs that the Fair Share Amendment could help us address. Vote “Yes” on Question 1!

Ken Terry
Sheffield