- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 4, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - A coalition of unions and community groups said Tuesday that they’ve submitted a proposed ballot question aimed at funneling more money into education and transportation by creating an additional tax on those who earn more than a million dollars a year.

The constitutional amendment would create an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above $1 million. The extra revenue could only be spent on public schools and public higher education, and for repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation.

Supporters said that the $1 million threshold would be adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases.

“New revenue is necessary to improve our public schools, rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, make college affordable, and invest in fast and reliable public transportation,” Barbara Gutman, a member of Raise Up Massachusetts, said in a press release. The same coalition successfully pushed a ballot question last year allowing workers to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick time in a given year.

Wednesday is the deadline for backers of proposed ballot questions and constitutional amendments to submit them to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office to see if they pass constitutional muster.

The question is one of many being proposed for next year’s ballot.

Proposed questions would seek to rescind the state’s acceptance of federal Common Core education standards, reduce the number of animals euthanized at shelters and prevent cruelty to farm animals.

Massachusetts state Secretary William Galvin filed a question aimed at strengthening Massachusetts’ public records law by guaranteeing the right to obtain records within a reasonable time and at a reasonable fee.

Another proposed question would mandate that the election of the attorney general “be on a non-partisan basis, without party nomination, support or affiliation” while another would amend the Massachusetts constitution to state that “no provision of this constitution shall be construed as requiring the public funding of abortion.”

Groups that want to legalize the recreational use of marijuana also said they plan to submit questions.

Submitting the proposed language of a question is just the first step in a long journey to the ballot.

Healey’s office is charged with reviewing whether a question meets certain constitutional requirements and can be certified. She said she hopes to release her decisions on the questions on Sept. 2.

Healey said her personal views play no role in determining if a question passes constitutional muster. She said she also welcomes public input on whether a question may be legally certified.

Once a question is certified, sponsors must gather at least 64,750 signatures by Nov. 28 when the signatures must be filed with local city and town registrars. Certified petitions must be filed with the state secretary by Dec. 2.

If lawmakers fail to adopt the question by May 3, sponsors must gather another 10,792 signatures to secure a spot on the November ballot next year.

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Online: https://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/initiatives-and-other-ballot-questions/current-petitions-filed.html


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