How Will We Spend Fair Share Dollars? Competing Proposals Highlight Needs and Opportunities

Last year Massachusetts voters approved the Fair Share Amendment, which amended the state constitution to include a 4 percent surtax on taxable income over $1 million to support education and transportation. Fiscal Year 2024, which starts in July 2023, is the first state budget to include Fair Share dollars, and the House and Senate budget proposals differ in how they would spend Fair Share funds. The table below compares proposed Fair Share spending across the Governor, House, and Senate versions of the budget.

A key takeaway from this table is that there are more needs and opportunities than there are Fair Share dollars, forcing hard choices between important programs and initiatives. It would be great if we could fund free community college and greening Massachusetts’ school buildings, or additional capital investments for a more reliable MBTA and improving stations to better connect Western Mass.1 We could afford to fund more of these initiatives if we decided against giving expensive tax cuts to wealthy households that exacerbate inequality.2

The state budget process now moves to the conference committee, where the House and Senate work out differences in their respective budget proposals.

Line ItemTitleCategoryGovernor
Section 2F
House
Section 2F
Senate
Section 2F
Area of Complete Agreement
1596-2400Municipal Partnership ProgramsTransportation$100,000,000$0$0
1596-2401Matching Funds for Municipal and State Transportation ProjectsTransportation$50,000,000$0$50,000,000
1596-2402Highway Bridge PreservationTransportation$100,000,000$100,000,000$50,000,000
1596-2403Roadside Maintenance and BeautificationTransportation$14,000,000$0$0
1596-2404MBTA Capital InvestmentsTransportation$181,000,000$250,000,000$190,000,000
1596-2405MBTA Means Tested FaresTransportation$5,000,000$5,000,000$5,000,000
1596-2406Regional Transit Funding and GrantsTransportation$25,000,000$70,000,000$100,000,000
1596-2407Palmer and Pittsfield Rail ProjectsTransportation$12,500,000$0$0
1596-2408Water TransportationTransportation$2,500,000$10,000,000$5,000,000
1596-2410Childcare Grants to ProvidersEducation$100,000,000$40,000,000$0
1596-2411Income Eligible WaitlistEducation$25,000,000$25,000,000$25,000,000
1596-2412CPPI Pre-K InitiativeEducation$15,000,000$0$15,000,000
1596-2413Early College and Innovation PathwaysEducation$10,000,000$0$10,000,000
1596-2414Financial Aid ExpansionEducation$93,000,000$84,000,000$100,000,000
1596-2416Student Support ServicesEducation$30,000,000$0$30,000,000
1596-2417Higher Education Capital FundingEducation$140,000,000$0$125,000,000
1596-2418MassReconnectEducation$20,000,000$20,000,000$20,000,000
1596-2419Tuition and Fee StabilizationEducation$59,000,000$0$0
1596-2420State University Equity and Inclusion InitiativesEducation$8,000,000$0$0
1596-2421UMass Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion InitiativesEducation$10,000,000$0$0
1596-2427MBTA Workforce/Safety ReserveTransportation$65,000,000$0
1596-2422School MealsEducation$161,000,000$0
1596-2423Targeted In-Demand ScholarshipsEducation$50,000,000$0
1596-2424Green SchoolworksEducation$100,000,000$0
1596-2425DHE Endowment MatchEducation$10,000,000$0
1596-2426UMass Endowment MatchEducation$10,000,000$0
1596-2428Roads & Bridges Supplemental AidTransportation$100,000,000
1596-2429Early Education & Care Provider CapitalEducation$25,000,000
1596-2430EEC Provider Workforce AidEducation$15,000,000
1596-2431MSBA Capital SupportsEducation$100,000,000
1596-2432Free Community College Implementation SupportsEducation$15,000,000
1596-2433Nursing Programs Free Community CollegeEducation$20,000,000

1 Palmer and Pittsfield rail projects included as 1596-2407 in the Governor’s budget proposal

2 https://massbudget.org/2023/05/17/estate-tax-racial-wealth-gap/; https://massbudget.org/2023/05/16/house-tax-proposal-racial-equity/

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