Funding still ‘top priority’ after SJC ruling
M;TA;members;are;regrouping;in;the;fight;for more resources for public schools and public higher education after receiving
the deeply disappointing news in June that the Fair
Share Amendment, also known as the millionaires’
tax, would not be on the ballot this fall.
That piece of bad news was tempered by
more positive results for the rest of the Raise
Up Massachusetts agenda when the Legislature
approved a package of bills increasing the minimum
wage and guaranteeing many workers paid family
and medical leave.
MTA’s new president, stated, “We have raised the
expectations of our members that together we will
win full funding for our public schools and colleges.
This is still our top priority for the MTA, with or
Najimy said that the onus is now on legislators to
raise and allocate the funds needed to make sure that
all students are provided with an excellent education.
Legislators “are not off the hook just because
this question didn’t go forward,” she said. “It’s
their constitutional obligation to make sure that all
students have an opportunity to learn, grow and
succeed despite the court’s political decision.”
Fair Share Amendment struck down
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
the Fair Share constitutional amendment, despite
its broad popular support, could not appear on
the November ballot. The court — dominated by
appointees of Governor Charlie Baker — held that
the provision calling for a 4 percent tax on annual
to the section of the initiative stating that the new
revenues should be spent on public education and
“The court, in effect, invented a new rule that
says tax initiatives cannot say how we want the money
spent,” said MTA Vice President Max Page, who also
The lawsuit that led to the ruling was brought
Massachusetts High Technology Council, Associated
Industries of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts
Taxpayers Foundation, the Massachusetts
Competitive Partnership and the National Federation
of Independent Business.
Barbara Madeloni, then MTA’s president, wrote
in a message to members, “Although the corporate
lobby prevailed in this case, we are not diminished
because our power has always been — and will
remain — with collective action and coalitions.
Strong locals and community alliances will give us
fully funding public education, from prekindergarten
through higher education.”
Justice Kimberly Budd was one of two SJC
justices who dissented, writing, “The petition
does not have the same meaning if its subjects are
separated.” She added, “Prohibiting the people from
voting on this petition undermines the legislative
power given to the people to draft and enact laws”
through the initiative petition process.
Striking down the initiative did indeed thwart
had signed petitions to qualify it for the ballot,
and the Legislature overwhelmingly approved it in
two consecutive constitutional conventions. Public
Please turn to ‘Grand bargain’/Page 12
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