Senior policy analyst looks at wages, leave, taxes

BROOKFIELD — Area residents are invited to learn about the Massachusetts ballot initiatives proposed to address income inequality in the November 2018 election.

Brookfield Indivisible will host an information session, Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. at the Brookfield Inn, 8 West Main St., on proposed referendum questions to adopt the so-called Fair Share Amendment, a $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, and a rollback of the state’s sales tax to 5 percent. The event is free and open to the public.

Jeremy Thompson, senior policy analyst for the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, will present an overview of these initiatives and their impact on families, businesses and the state budget. The Fair Share Amendment seeks to create an additional tax of 4% on annual income above $1 million and invest those funds in education and infrastructure. The $15 minimum wage would be implemented in increments of $1 per year over the next four years to achieve a minimum wage of $15 an hour in Massachusetts by 2022. The paid family and medical leave initiative would provide employees and self-employed individuals (who elect coverage) with 16 weeks of paid family leave or 26 weeks of paid medical leave per year up to 90 percent of an employee’s average weekly wages or $1,000 a week (whichever is less). Finally, the sales tax rollback would decrease state sales tax from 6.25% to 5% and designate a tax-free weekend each August.

“Massachusetts voters will have to make many hard decisions this November on the future of our state and our priorities when it comes to supporting families, workers, education and infrastructure,” said Trudy O’Connell, chair of Brookfield Indivisible. “This program will give us good background to be able to decide and discuss these issues with our families and friends.”

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center is an independent nonprofit organization that provides non-partisan research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, as well as economic issues, that affect low- and moderate-income people in Massachusetts.

Brookfield Indivisible focuses on issues such as healthcare and reproductive rights, elections and voting rights, protection of immigrants and refugees, the environment, and economic justice and tax reform. Founding members hail from the Brookfields, Spencer, Sturbridge and Warren. Membership is open to residents in all area towns. For more information, please visit brookfieldindivisible.com.

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