Business groups plan to challenge ‘millionaire’s tax’ in court

The constitutional amendment would impose a 4 percent surtax on Massachusetts millionaires

BOSTON (WWLP)—A coalition of business groups plans to challenge the validity of the so-called millionaire’s tax before it gets to voters on the 2018 ballot.

Massachusetts currently has a flat income tax rate of 5.1 percent. But a 2018 ballot petition could raise taxes on very-high income earners. The constitutional amendment, known as the Fair Share Amendment, would impose a four percent surtax on incomes over one million dollars.

But several Massachusetts business groups are preparing to challenge ballot question in court. The Massachusetts High Technology Council, the organization leading the coalition, said in a newsletter to members:

“We believe if implemented, the proposal will damage the Commonwealth’s economic climate and irreparably harm Massachusetts’ process for making taxation and budgeting decisions.”

The organization said their legal team of experts has developed “a set of compelling constitutional arguments.”

If passed by voters, the money would go toward education and transportation. State Senator Jamie Eldridge, (D-Acton) told 22News these public benefits would actually help businesses.

“I think it’s a very modest increase and it’s being dedicated to things that actually support the business community,” said Eldridge. “If we have a more educated workforce, if workers are able to get around to different parts of the state, it’s going to create a stronger economy.”

Neither the Massachusetts High Technology Council nor the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation would comment on the issue until it goes before the state’s highest court.

The Council plans to file a formal complaint with the SJC in the coming weeks.