Guest columnist Owen Zaret: Yes to question 1 means better roads and schools

Posted: 09/20/2022 17:39:00 Modified: 09/20/2022 17:38:21 Our small town of Easthampton faces the same ever-present challenges of t...

Posted: 09/20/2022 17:39:00

Modified: 09/20/2022 17:38:21

Our small town of Easthampton faces the same ever-present challenges of the rest of the Commonwealth: fixing our roads and funding our schools.

Our Department of Public Works and our education system are funded through various combinations of annual state allocations, local budget distributions, and grants. New England’s roads are in constant need of repair and repaving, we have aging infrastructure and we need to meet the needs of our growing city and respond with better features for pedestrians and cyclists.

Take a spin on Maple Street or the Glendale Street Bridge and you can see some needed improvements for yourself. The same goes for our schools. This fall we will see full occupancy of our new, pre-K-8 Mountain View school building, which perfectly complements our recently completed high school.

Yet year after year we are faced with insufficient public funding and never enough local funding to provide the programs and staff we need to bring these facilities to their full potential and truly provide our students with the services they deserve. Due to the Massachusetts state flat tax, workers and families spend a greater proportion of their income on everyday goods and services and annual taxes than the wealthiest people in the Commonwealth.

The pandemic has only accentuated this gap. Much of the prosperity of the wealthiest among us is produced by the person who works on a daily basis. Those earning over $1 million have many more resources at their disposal, while the rest of us feel increasingly tight financial constraints.

It’s time for a fairer tax system in Massachusetts. On the November 8 ballot, we have the option to skip Question 1, which would create an additional 4% tax on every dollar of annual income earned above $1 million. A person who earns exactly $1 million will pay nothing more, and someone who earns $2 million would pay 4% more just on their second million, which is only $40,000 more. This will provide some fairness and reduce the disproportionality that we have historically seen between working class and high income people.

Ninety-nine percent of us won’t pay a penny more in taxes. However, we will see about $2 billion per year reinvested where we need it most: infrastructure and education. The revenue generated by Question 1 will provide the Commonwealth and our city of Easthampton with much needed money for roads, bridges and public transport. We can make the necessary infrastructure improvements to make our city more walkable and bikeable. Our schools will have more money for staff and programming, maximizing the experience and education our students need and deserve. Our City Council unanimously seconded a resolution in favor of this ballot.

In November, I urge you to vote Yes to Question 1. Give Easthampton and the rest of the Commonwealth a fair share for better roads and better schools.

Owen Zaret is a councilor in Easthampton.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest columnist Owen Zaret: Yes to question 1 means better roads and schools
Guest columnist Owen Zaret: Yes to question 1 means better roads and schools
Newsrust - US Top News
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