Massachusetts implemented a 4% millionaire’s tax, resulting in free lunch for all public school students.

Massachusetts implemented a 4% millionaire's tax, resulting in free lunch for all public school students.

Massachusetts Imposes a Millionaires’ Tax to Provide Free Lunch for Students

Massachusetts Millionaires’ Tax

In a bold move to support public education, Massachusetts has implemented a 4% tax on individuals earning more than $1 million per year. This tax has paved the way for a significant initiative: providing free lunch and breakfast for students in the state. Massachusetts is now the eighth state to adopt such a program following the expiration of a pandemic-era federal initiative.

The constitutional amendment, passed by Massachusetts voters, took effect at the beginning of 2023. The additional 4% state income tax targets high earners and aims to generate revenue for public education and essential infrastructure repairs. With a clear mandate from the voters, the state legislature is keen on utilizing the funds for the betterment of the education system.

According to the State House News Service, the state’s record-breaking $56.2 billion fiscal budget for 2024 includes $1 billion sourced from the new tax on millionaires. It is worth noting that this budget was recently signed into law by Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey. The significant allocation towards public education, particularly free breakfast and lunch for all public school students, demonstrates the state’s commitment to leveling the playing field for every child.

Moreover, a portion of the revenue generated from the millionaires’ tax will be designated to help undocumented immigrants who attended high school in Massachusetts qualify for lower in-state tuition rates. This shows a broader commitment to inclusivity and providing equal opportunities for all residents of the state.

To break down the allocation of funds, state lawmakers have agreed to appropriate $523 million towards education, while $477 million will be set aside for transportation needs. This multi-faceted approach recognizes the importance of robust education systems and reliable transportation infrastructure in improving quality of life for all residents.

The implementation of the millionaires’ tax in Massachusetts reflects a nationwide sentiment regarding taxation. President Joe Biden has been a vocal advocate for increased taxation on the ultra-rich to bridge the wealth gap and fund critical programs. In February, he called on lawmakers to pass his billionaires’ tax proposal—a 20% minimum tax on households with a net worth exceeding $100 million. The goal is to target “big corporations and the wealthiest Americans,” while protecting individuals earning less than $400,000 per year from increased taxes.

President Biden also signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, which includes a 15% minimum tax on corporations earning more than $1 billion. These measures demonstrate a commitment to creating a fairer economy by ensuring that the wealthiest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share.

Massachusetts’ implementation of the millionaires’ tax serves as an inspiring example of leveraging taxation to champion public education. By redirecting a portion of the revenue to fund free lunch and breakfast for students, the state is investing in the well-being and future of its youth. Furthermore, the commitment to assisting undocumented immigrants in accessing affordable education strengthens the state’s reputation as an inclusive and welcoming community.

As the nation continues to grapple with economic challenges, the Massachusetts model offers a blueprint for other states to follow. By creatively utilizing tax revenue to address pressing social issues, governments can drive positive change and create a fairer and more prosperous society for all.