To the editor: For 75 years now, the iconic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” has resonated with audiences regardless of the political landscape since its fundamental themes and pivotal scenes transcend time and speak to the broad spectrum of the human condition.
During one pivotal moment, the main characters (George and Mary) are offered a "chance of a lifetime" which they ultimately miss as events, personal values and decisions keep them in the "crummy little town" of Bedford Falls. They continually help family and fellow townspeople via the Building and Loan Association which competes with the cold-hearted business interests of Mr. Potter, "the richest man in town." Eventually, George almost does get ensnared by Potter’s web of money and influence but has his epiphanic moment (perhaps recalling a previous encounter telling Potter about the fundamental needs and rights of the average townsperson) and rejects Potter’s alluring job offer outright. However, troubles develop to the advantage of Potter which requires angelic intervention and the goodwill of the townspeople to counter Potter's misanthropy and achieve a happy ending.
In 2022, hopefully, we'll have another happy ending when it comes to the Fair Share Amendment ballot question. If your weekly take-home income is $19,230 or under, this constitutional amendment won’t affect you. If over, it’ll cost you 4 cents on the dollar of the amount over, thereby still protecting your first $1 million of adjusted gross income a year. This surtax is estimated to impact around 1 percent of taxpayers in the commonwealth, yet it will provide a substantial dedicated annual revenue stream for both public education and infrastructure estimated at between $1 billion and $2 billion. Certainly, a well-educated workforce and an efficient, economic transportation system are essential for successful businesses.
The “fairness” of this amendment is well documented and its history with comparisons to other states is available on the websites of Raise Up Massachusetts (raiseupma.org) and the Massachusetts Teachers Association (massteacher.org). This is a wonderful opportunity with no angelic intervention necessary — just your vote. Our chance of a lifetime has been forward by the entire Berkshire delegation and well over 70 percent of the Legislature, and boasts similar support from the polled electorate. I hope you’ll signify your support on either noted website and vote for the FSA on Nov. 8.
Neil F. Clarke, Lee
The writer is the Senate district coordinator for the Massachusetts Teacher Association.