Question 1 So-Called ‘Millionaires’ Tax’ Is Class Warfare That Will Harm The Commonwealth

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Envy is a powerful force in the human race. And it raises its ugly head again and again in states like Massachusetts. We hear the mantra from so-called “progressives” over and over again:  “The wealthy should pay more.”  Or they should pay “their fair share.”  

This vice, or sin, of envy has been manifested throughout history. The renowned philosopher, theologian, and author Michael Novak wrote with perspicacity:  “Why do republics so regularly fall? Which passion kills them? Envy, it turns out, is the most destructive passion – more so than hatred.” Envy sets class against class, family against family, and tribe against tribe.

Envy was a prime moving force in the French, Russian, and Chinese revolutions, which caused misery, suffering, and death to millions. In Western democracies, it takes the form of tax brackets that punish high-income earners, which are most often represented by entrepreneurs, business owners, and folks who have favored investment and savings over consumption.

In its essence, envy in the body politic is class warfare.

Question 1 on the November 2022 ballot is a proposal to tax some Massachusetts residents 4 percent over and above the current 5 percent income tax that everyone else pays, on a portion of their earnings. Hence the Massachusetts state income tax on all income above $1 million would effectively be 9 percent. And it is a prime example of envy, pitting the working classes against the middle classes and the “elite.”

The revenues from this surtax on high earners would supposedly be earmarked by the legislature for education and transportation. Except, of course, that money is fungible, and there is absolutely no guarantee that the legislature will appropriate money for these purposes. 

In addition to the near certainty that revenues from Question 1 would not significantly benefit the students in the ever-deteriorating public schools in Massachusetts, they would surely help the Massachusetts Teachers Association – the most radical public service union in the Commonwealth

Incredibly, the state’s largest teachers union has poured more than $10 million into the pro-Question 1 campaign. This is where the union dues go from all the teachers in public schools in Massachusetts – to enact a law to punish entrepreneurs and business owners. And the state teachers union’s Daddy Warbucks, the National Education Association, has chipped in another $7 million to help pass Question 1.

We know what they want:  More top-down spending on public schools, and ultimately more money in the unions’ coffers.  But what would the effect be on other people?

The so-called Millionaires Tax would affect not just the “wealthy.” It would hurt the middle class and working class, as there would be fewer jobs in the state, following an exodus of business owners and entrepreneurs who risk their capital to run businesses that create jobs.

Citizens who sell their homes which have appreciated considerably over decades may find they have to pay the “millionaires tax,” as well.

More than 45,000 people left Massachusetts to live in other states between April 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, according to the U.S. Census. How many more will leave if Question 1 is enacted?

Socialist envy and class warfare have no place in Massachusetts. If Question 1 passes, it will mean Massachusetts is emulating California and New York, which now see a steady stream of their most productive citizens leave their states.

Question 1 must be defeated. Vote No on November 8th.


Robert H. Bradley is Chairman of Bradley, Foster & Sargent Inc., a $5.3 billion wealth management firm that has offices in Hartford, Connecticut and Wellesley, Massachusetts. Read other articles by him here.


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