In The People's Blog

Want to hear a state-specific word that’s more profane than any in your mind at this very second?

Surplus.

Yes. Surplus, the word that’s currently being used to define the uptick in revenue recently reported in Commonwealth tax collections as compared to what was budgeted.

Why profane? Here are two top reasons:

  1. The word ’surplus’ might lead a person to believe that we have spent all that must be spent on critical issues like education, transportation, the human services, the environment. And the truth is that—while the Commonwealth looks good on paper—the state is rife with un- and under-funded mandates. This pervasive truth that been one of my most striking learnings during these early months in office.
  2. Considering an ill-conceived ‘surplus’ today might make conversations about fair taxation harder in the short- and longer-term. Remember, there are significant short-term revenue proposals on the table this session, like the two I co-filed with House partners around a luxury real estate transfer tax and a capital gains tax. The Legislature will also move on the Fair Share Amendment, which is on a much longer timeline as it must amend the Constitution. If people believe we have more funds than we need, it could take the urgency out of conversations around deepening fair investment in the Commonwealth.
In my latest ‘Dear Jo’ column, I answer a constituent question about marijuana and gambling revenue—and talk about the larger and very dangerous tax cut trend at the center of downsizing our investment in government at the state-level, and thus our investment in the people of the Commonwealth, along with everything we value.
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