This forum will allow people in Newton to speak out on the budgets: city, state and federal. Budgets at all levels everywhere in the country are being cut. We need to have an adult discussion about our priorities and the appropriate balance between expenses and revenue.
In Massachusetts, we have a chance to fight back!
In Massachusetts, two courageous legislators have filed, and 17 others have so far cosponsored, a bill that would deal with the budget crisis by raising revenue rather than slashing programs. Best of all, it does this in a way that is as progressive as possible under Massachusetts' State Constitution. "An Act to Invest in Our Communities", filed by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Jim O'Day, would raise the income tax rate slightly, while simultaneously raising the personal exemptions, protecting the people hardest hit by the Great Recession from a tax increase. It would simultaneously increase the tax rate paid on investment income such as dividends and capital gains. The net result is that taxes on the lowest-earning 20-40% of Massachusetts taxpayers would stay the same or go down, taxes for those in the middle would stay the same or go up, slightly, but the highest-earning tax payers, those who just received a huge give-away from the Federal government through extension of the Bush Tax Cuts, would have to give a chunk of that windfall back to the State. And the bill would raise $1.2 billion toward the projected almost $2 billion state budget shortfall - saving a lot of important programs that benefit our communities.
None of us LIKE paying taxes. But we also understand that our communities have real needs. The decisions we make today will shape our communities for years to come. We have built a state with the best public schools in the nation, jobs that pay enough to support a family, safe communities and a good quality of life. These things are the foundations of our future economic success. Deep budget cuts threaten to undermine what we have accomplished and weaken our communities. Isn't it better that we INVEST in our communities now - with all of us paying our fair share - rather than gut them, destroying all the things that actually make our communities good places to live?
What can I do?
We need to get more legislators on board with this bill. Please call your state representative and senator, today. Ask them to fight budget cuts, and support “An Act to Invest in Our Communities” (Senate Docket 1012 & House Docket 2261). Tell them the bill would reform state taxes to place less of a burden on the working & middle classes and ask more of a share from the wealthiest 5% of all taxpayers, while narrowing the budget gap. Tell them you don’t even want them to THINK about budget cuts until they have passed the revenue bill!
There will be forum on this legislation on March 29th at the Newton Free Library.
Important note! Newton Representatives Ruth Balser and Kay Khan are both co-sponsors of An Act to Invest in Our Communities.