Top Massachusetts business leaders and retailer advocacy organizations fiercely condemned Ballot Question 1 during a virtual press conference Wednesday, arguing the so-called Fair Share Amendment or millionaires tax could weaken the commonwealth’s competitive edge and disproportionately harm owners of mom and pop shops.
Ballot Question 1 would impose a 4% surtax on all income exceeding $1 million, with the Massachusetts Legislature tasked with appropriating the new pot of money to education and transportation spending. Supporters of the referendum, which would translate into a constitutional amendment, say the tax forces of the state’s wealthiest residents to pay their fair share, while redirecting money to vulnerable communities and infrastructure needs.
Yet opponents — including the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment, which organized the press conference — claim the tax could be detrimental and erode people’s nest eggs when triggered by one-time earnings, such as the sale of homes or small businesses.
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Jim Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, warned Ballot Question 1 could spur long-term negative consequences for the state’s business ecosystem and drive talent elsewhere. That’s in the context of an out-migration among residents and businesses already underway here, Rooney said, particularly as cities and states are “openly competing for talent, for firms, for business units.”
“If this passes and we become less competitive further, would a start-up like DraftKings happen in Massachusetts, or might they decide, ‘You know what, the