Public Hearing on the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment

The Joint Committee on Revenue meets at 10:30 AM today for a public hearing on the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment (H3933) - room B-1 at the State House. I'll be providing one minute of testimony as part of an education panel. Here are my thoughts:

Honorable Co-Chairs and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment. I’m Mary Ann Stewart, from Lexington, parent representative on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), speaking for myself, not for the Board.

I’ve been deeply involved in education from a number of local, statewide, and national perspectives. Students need a well-rounded education that’s based on a rich and varied curriculum that includes music, art, and athletics - but, many of these programs were eliminated or severely eroded in many communities during the recession years.

To provide a sound future for our children and our Commonwealth, we must ensure that all children get a great education, including those who face the greatest challenges. We need to invest more in foundation funding for school districts, early childhood education, extended day & wrap-around services, and post-secondary education.

Improving the quality of the education our children receive requires up-front investments for long term pay-offs to individual students, society, and to the workforce. Determining how to raise revenue for these long term investments is a critical challenge. We can make those investments by asking our highest income residents, who, as you know, currently pay less of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, to pay a little more on their income over $1 million.

Thank you for your consideration.