Workers demonstrating in support of the Fair Share Amendment; photo courtesy RaiseUP Massachusetts.

Letter to the Editor: 15 Faith-Based Groups from Across Massachusetts Endorse Question 1 to Improve Transportation and Public Education

Religious Leaders Join Growing Coalition Supporting Fair Share Amendment Tax on Million-Dollar Earners on November Ballot

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BOSTON — The campaign working to pass the Fair Share Amendment, the proposed state tax on incomes above $1 million which would raise billions of dollars to invest in transportation and public education, today announced the endorsement of 15 faith-based groups from across the state. The Fair Share Amendment is Question 1 on the November statewide ballot.

“As an organization, we believe in equal access to opportunity, and this is exactly what the Fair Share Amendment is working towards: more equitable systems of transportation and education to benefit every Massachusetts resident,” said Rev. Edwin Johnson of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester, a member of Prophetic Resistance Boston and the Massachusetts Communities Action Network. “Passing the Fair Share Amendment is the greatest way to guarantee all of our public schools are properly funded and our public transportation system works for everyone, ensuring Massachusetts remains a state that serves in the best interest of us all.” 

The 15 faith-based groups represent religious congregations and clergy from across Massachusetts, and include statewide organizations as well as groups from Boston, Framingham, Sharon, Worcester, the North Shore, the Pioneer Valley, and Southeastern Massachusetts.

“People of faith, who hold that moral and spiritual traditions are fundamental to civil society, believe that sharing what we have is not a choice but a responsibility. Regular giving, whether tithing our income or leaving the corners or our fields free for the taking, lies at the core of Jewish teachings,” said Rabbi Barbara Penzner, a member of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action Advisory Committee and Rabbinic Advisory to the New England Jewish Labor Committee. “The Fair Share Amendment creates the opportunity to fulfill that obligation in a simple and just framework. It is based on this incontestable truth: for any one of us to thrive, we must ensure that everyone thrives.”

“UU Mass Action, as a faith-based community organization working with frontline partner organizations, has witnessed the growing economic disparities and the impacts on our education and transportation systems,” said Rev. Jo Murphy, Executive Director of Unitarian Universalist Mass Action. “For this reason, and as Unitarian Universalists who see economic justice as a core principle and part of our communal thriving, we support the Fair Share Amendment and truly see it as crucial to our economy and a sustainable way to recover from COVID.”

“We believe that God wants a world with liberation for all. Yet, that is not the world we live in,” said Rev. Arrington Chambliss, Executive Director of Episcopal City Mission. “Our current tax system privileges the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. This unfair tax system has exacerbated the racial wealth gap in Massachusetts throughout the pandemic. Now is the time to take action and bring forth a more just tax system. Please join Episcopal City Mission in voting Yes on 1.”

The faith-based groups join more than 215 organizations and thousands of activists across the state who are working together to pass Question 1 on the ballot. The campaign previously announced support from 63 community organizing groups26 housing and community development organizations, and 28 social service providers. After years of grassroots advocacy, the state Legislature voted in June 2021 to place the Fair Share Amendment on the November 2022 statewide ballot, where it is now set to be decided on by the voters as Question 1.

The full list of endorsing faith-based groups is below, and a full list of organizations that have endorsed Question 1 is available at fairsharema.com/endorsements.

Black Ministerial Alliance/Boston Ten Point Coalition

Brockton Interfaith Community

Episcopal City Mission

Essex County Community Organization

Greater Framingham Community Church

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Massachusetts Communities Action Network

New England Jewish Labor Committee

Pioneer Valley Project

Prophetic Resistance Boston

Sharon Interfaith Action

Unitarian Universalist Association

United Interfaith Action of Southeastern MA (UIA)

UU Mass Action

Worcester Interfaith

Background on Question 1: the Fair Share Amendment

The Fair Share Amendment – Question 1 on the November ballot – will allow Massachusetts to improve our transportation and public education systems by making the very rich pay their fair share. Question 1 would create a 4 percent tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million and dedicate the funds raised to transportation and public education. Only people who earn more than $1 million annually will be impacted; 99% of us won’t pay a penny more. And we’ll all benefit from better schools, roads, bridges, and public transportation.

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The Fair Share for Massachusetts campaign is led by Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of community organizations, faith-based groups, and labor unions committed to building an economy that invests in families, gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, and creates broadly shared prosperity. Since our coalition came together in 2013, we have nearly doubled wages for hundreds of thousands of working people by winning two increases in the state’s minimum wage, won best-in-the-nation earned sick time and paid family and medical leave benefits for workers and their families, and started to build an economy that works for all of us, not just those at the top. Learn more at FairShareMA.com.

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