My home state did a big thing last week- we passed the Fair Share Amendment.
No, I’m not talking about electing the nation’s first openly lesbian governor (although yay for firsts!).
I’m talking about the passage of the Fair Share Amendment, which codifies into the Massachusetts constitution (yes, we have our own, and yes, ours came before the US!) a provision to impose a 4% tax on annual income above $1 million.
These funds can only be spent on transportation and public education (two areas that play hugely important roles in achieving economic equity).
As a very vocal supporter of the Fair Share Amendment, I was often asked how I could support a tax such as this as a small business owner.
Like most tax issues, if you look at this in a vacuum you might assume there would be some winners (anyone who rides the T or goes to school) and some losers (millionaires). In fact, much of the marketing around this ballot question focused on that division between the two groups – “tax the rich” and “make the rich pay” were common campaign slogans.
But I see it differently. While yes, technically, anyone making more than $1 million will have to pay more, that 4% tax (about $2 billion/year) will benefit us all:
These benefits are just the beginning. From a truly altruistic perspective, this is an incredible thing because it will help so many people and is a big step towards economic equality.
I want to be clear – achieving economic equity is enough of a reason for this amendment to have passed. But as many of us in this community are growing our businesses and our wealth, it can be tempting to want to hang on to every dollar we have.
I see this in the conversations I have over taxes or paying your team fairly or even investing into your retirement. In a vacuum, sure, we’re on board for those things. But when we’re building our businesses, it’s hard to part with those dollars when sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough of them. I get that.
So as you’re making financial decisions in your business and your life – especially in these uncertain times – consider the impacts beyond just the upfront cost. Consider that a well-paid team will work that much harder for you, or paying in your fair share of taxes will support the vital resources that you use every day (like your roads and your schools). Consider that the more we do our part, the more our community grows and a rising tide lifts all boats.
These investments today make our community better tomorrow, and that is invaluable.