OPEN HOUSE, Rep. Kaufman’s monthly public policy series, was launched in 1995 to provide a forum for discussing the challenges and opportunities facing our community and Commonwealth. While Rep. Kaufman invites guests with expertise and experience in the policy area under consideration, the public is an integral part of the program, and audience participation typically directs the conversation. OPEN HOUSE has been named the best television series by the Massachusetts Cable Television Commission, and was awarded the cable industry’s Beacon Award as the nation’s best government relations series. OPEN HOUSE is produced in partnership with the Lexington Historical Society and LexMedia, which films the forums for broadcast in eastern Massachusetts.

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October’s “OPEN HOUSE”

“OPEN HOUSE” Tackles The Commonwealth’s Unfair Tax System

Representative Jay Kaufman’s award winning public policy forum, “OPEN HOUSE,” examines a subject close to home – Raise Up Massachusetts’ ballot initiative to levy additional taxes on personal income over one million dollars a year. The forum will be held on Thursday, October 15th, from 7:00PM-8:00PM, at the historic Depot in Lexington Center (13 Depot Square in Lexington Center).

Raise Up Massachusetts is a collaborative effort comprising over 150 community organizations, religious groups, labor unions, and business leaders who are committed to leveling the wealth and income divide and building an economy that works for us all. In 2013 and 2014, they collected over 350,000 signatures on behalf of two ballot initiatives: raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers. These successful initiatives culminated in June of 2014, when the Legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation giving Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the country. Raise Up Massachusetts then led the campaign to ensure access to earned sick time for all workers in the Commonwealth by passing Question 4 in November2014.

Raise Up is now coordinating the effort to pass the ”Fair Share” amendment to the state’s Constitution which currently proscribes different tax rates.  Of the 43 states that tax personal income, Massachusetts is one of only 9 with a flat tax rate. Since being appointed House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue, Representative Kaufman has co-chaired two exhaustive commissions looking at the intricacies – and shortcomings – of our tax system. The “Tax Expenditure” report was a detailed look at the multitude of tax breaks and credits built into the Massachusetts state budget. The Tax Fairness Commission offered an in-depth look at our regressive personal taxes.

How unfair is our tax structure? How much do the poorest and the richest in Massachusetts pay in taxes? How much more money would this proposal bring in? Do we really need the extra revenue this tax would generate? Can’t we fix our problems without amending the Constitution? Find out the answers to these questions, or bring your own. Don’t miss this forum October 15th, from 7PM-8PM.As always, the forum will take its shape largely from questions from the audience. Questions can also be submitted in advance at jkaufman@mahouse.gov, or tweet your questions to @repjaykaufman. 

In 1997, OPEN HOUSE was awarded the prestigious Beacon Award, cable television’s equivalent of an Emmy. The series was also named the best television series by Massachusetts Cable Television Commission. The OPEN HOUSE series is produced through a partnership between Representative Kaufman and LexMedia which records the forums for broadcast in Lexington and Woburn.