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Business groups come out against millionaire’s tax

A group boasting tens of thousands of small businesses in the Bay State has come out in opposition to a proposed tax hike on million dollar earners teed up before voters in November.

“The Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment today announced organizations representing over 25,000 small businesses have joined the Coalition in opposition to Question 1,” the group said Wednesday.

Massachusetts voters will decide in the coming weeks whether to institute a 4% tax on any dollar earned over $1 million in a year. Opponents say the proposed surtax represents the largest tax increase in state history and that it would do great harm to already struggling small businesses.

“If passed, Question 1 would be one of the highest tax hikes in Massachusetts history, immediately and permanently implementing an 80% tax increase and threatening small businesses across the state. Question 1 captures tens of thousands of small business owners who do not make more than one million dollars per year and are working hard to rebuild after the negative impacts of the pandemic,” the group said in a release.

Among the opponents of the proposed constitutional amendment is the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, which said many of its members, who are not millionaires, will be hit by the tax because of how their small businesses are structured.

“Our organization represents 4,000 small businesses across the state, with a vast majority of these businesses set up as pass through entities,” Jon Hurst, association president, said. “Many of these organizations could see their taxes nearly double under Question 1. This constitutional amendment will devastate our local economy and threaten small businesses statewide.”

The Fair Share Amendment, as the measure is called, would only affect the ultra wealthy and would help fund both transportation and education across the state, proponents say. They say opponents of the tax need to stop being dishonest with voters.

“Billionaires and corporate lobbyists are lying to small business owners about Question 1, and it has to stop. Question 1 isn’t a tax on businesses and doesn’t apply to any business’s revenues – only profits that are reported as the owner’s personal income. A business owner would need to have more than $1 million in profits from their business in order to be affected, and less than 3 percent of all business owners in Massachusetts earn that much income,” Gerly Adrien, Business Director of Fair Share for Massachusetts & owner of Tipping Cow Ice Cream in Somerville and Boston, told the Herald Wednesday.

A new poll out of Suffolk University shows the ballot question’s supporters lead “no” voters by more than 20 points, 58 – 37.

“We’re supporting Question 1 because we know it will help improve our schools and transportation infrastructure, and only the very rich will pay more. A few billionaires are trying to mislead voters about what Question 1 does, but our grassroots supporters are having thousands of conversations every day to combat their misinformation,” Lanier said.

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