The politics of the millionaire’s tax

General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt, trying very hard to fit in as the new neighbor, said on Monday that he wouldn’t mind if Massachusetts voters approved a constitutional amendment implementing a millionaire’s tax.

“I think whatever happens happens, and will impact us just like it impacts everybody else,” said GE’s CEO. “Really, I think, believe it or not, most days what we think about is how we can sell more jet engines and gas turbines and we let the rest of the chips fall where they may.”

Immelt earns $10 million a year in salary and $33 million in total compensation, according to the company’s latest proxy. The proposed constitutional amendment, which would impose a 4 percent surtax on anyone earning more than $1 million, would hike Immelt’s tax bill by an estimated $400,000.

If Immelt isn’t worried about the proposed constitutional amendment, maybe it has a real chance of passing, despite all the opposition from state business groups..The politics of the millionaire’s tax are pretty interesting.

To reach the 2018 ballot, the question must receive the support of 50 lawmakers in consecutive sessions of the Legislature. House Speaker Robert DeLeo, no friend of tax increases, has already indicated the measure will probably gain the necessary support in the 200-member Legislature.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, a fan of a graduated income tax, is already looking beyond the Legislature. He told a union breakfast on Monday that the Senate is laying the groundwork for passage of the constitutional amendment with studies documenting the state’s needs in housing, education, and transportation. Coupling the state’s need for new revenues in those areas with its stark statistics on income inequality could be a potent political combination.

“We need to rebuild the middle class in America and Massachusetts,” Rosenberg said. “We can’t do it without the investment in education and transportation and housing and energy, and it’s going to require us to shift the paradigm and change people’s minds that they can and should support a change in the constitution to allow us to change the tax system so that those who earn the most pay the most.”

Gov. Charlie Baker hasn’t taken a stand on the constitutional amendment, and that may be by design. He may philosophically oppose a millionaire’s tax, but he can’t do anything to stop it from appearing on the ballot. And he could definitely use the additional $2 billion in revenue the constitutional amendment would bring in. Baker may very well conclude: Let the voters decide.




“Put it to a vote,” Attorney General Maura Healey tells Speaker Robert DeLeo, who has been reluctant to allow a vote in the House on a transgender rights bill. (WGBH News)


The Quincy City Council appointed William Harris to the vacant Ward 6 seat, ending months of turmoil stemming from the death of councilor Brian McNamee before he was sworn in and a suit by Harris who came in second to McNamee in last fall’s election. (Patriot Ledger)

The Springfield City Council votes 11-2 to override Mayor Domenic Sarno’s veto of a measure that would limit his ability to grant residency waivers to city workers. (Masslive)

Thousands of Worcester affordable housing units are at risk  as restrictions on rents expire. (Telegram & Gazette)

Based on reaction to recent columns, Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson says Worcester residents like snakes and dislike Hillary Clinton.


The Mashpee Wampanoag will break ground today on construction of the tribe’s casino in Taunton. (Cape Cod Times)


In a rebuke to conservatives, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge to a Texas redistricting map that was based on total population rather than total voters. (New York Times)

The Globe’s Evan Horowitz has an explainer on the Panama Papers.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia vetoed a bill that would have blocked the use of sexually explicit books in schools. The bill was triggered by concerns over Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved. (Governing)


The Globe endorses legal services attorney Lydia Edwards in the seven-way Democratic primary special election for an East Boston-based state Senate seat. CommonWealth profiled Edwards and fellow candidate Diane Hwang last month.

James Pindell explains what to watch for in today’s Wisconsin primary balloting, which Ted Cruz hopes will mark the beginning of the end of Donald Trump. (Boston Globe)

House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to quash speculation that GOP insiders were forming a plan to put him on top of the Republican ticket at the convention to avoid nominating Trump. (U.S. News & World Report)

In the New Hampshire Senate race, Kelly Ayotte is facing challengers from the left and the right. (WBUR)


General Electric pledges $50 million in donations over the next five years, including $25 million for the Boston Public Schools. (WBUR) The numbers look pretty good from Connecticut, GE’s current and soon-to-be-former home. (Hartford Courant)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he supports raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. (Boston Globe)

A day after a Globe story suggested Jim Rooney is taking the Greater Boston of Chamber of Commerce in a new, more activist direction, columnist Joan Vennochi says things aren’t that different after all, especially when it comes to basic stands on tax questions. (Boston Globe)

Priscilla Chan, Quincy High School 2003 valedictorian and wife of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, said in a rare interview her experience as a tutor in Dorchester while a student at Harvard and seeing the toll violence takes on children is what drives her philanthropic goals of education and health. (San Jose Mercury News)


US Rep. Steve Lynch wants to wait for a report from federal officials on race issues at the school before weighing in on whether Boston Latin School headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta should go. (Boston Herald)


A Salem News editorial calls on the state to provide financial help to community hospitals and urges local residents to obtain care at those hospitals as opposed to driving into Boston.

A push is on to add a family medicine department at Harvard Medical School, one of only 10 med schools in the country without such a program. (Stat)

Despite dire forecasts, a study of federal data finds most employers have continued to offer health insurance to their employees since the Affordable Care Act became law, defying predictions that companies would abandon their plans and force workers into buying their own. (New York Times)


The MBTA approves the sale to real estate developers of its parking lot next to the North Quincy station and rejects a seven-month test of commuter rail service to the Cape. (CommonWealth)

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority is hopeful the state will give it another $4 million to remove hazardous waste at the authority’s proposed maintenance site. Officials also confirm that nonstop train service between Worcester and Boston will launch in May. (Telegram & Gazette)


Solar projects stalled because of inaction by Beacon Hill on net metering legislation are scattered unevenly around the state. (Masslive)

A New York Times editorial lauds a worldwide renewable energy boom.


Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn has called for revamping the state’s wiretap law after a New Bedford gang member’s murder conviction was overturned by the Supreme Judicial Court. (Standard-Times)

Peter Gelzinis explains why Boston police officer Ken Conley’s promotion this week to sergeant is such a big deal. (Boston Herald)

A three-time drunken driver was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol again after Brockton police found him passed out behind the wheel of a car at an intersection recently named the state’s worst. He had a baby in the back seat. (The Enterprise)

A fourth-grade teacher’s aide in Lawrence is arrested after arranging to pay an undercover cop $46,000 in cash for oxycodone pills. (Eagle-Tribune)


About that Twitter rant at Gay Talese over comments he made a weekend journalism conference… (Boston Globe)


The Globe’s Eric Moskowitz offers a beautifully woven story on the life of Dorothy Steele, a 77-year-old Cambridge woman and fixture on the city’s streets who died after being struck last month by a hit-and-run driver.