On January 1, the Massachusetts minimum wage went from $9 an hour to $10 an hour. About 280,000 people got a raise. This happened because thousands of people volunteered to gather signatures on petitions. That effort was coordinated by Raise Up Massachusetts. The same group last month submitted to the Massachusetts Secretary of State about 157,000 pen-on-paper signatures intended to raise taxes on people who make more than $1 million a year. About 13,000 people in Massachusetts made over $1 million in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available.
The petition says the money will go toward improving intercity passenger train, subway, and bus service; building new sidewalks and bicycle paths; and making schools and colleges better, among other improvements. Commuter train service between Greenfield and Springfield via Northampton and Holyoke is likely.
Members of a teachers' union, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, gathered about 30,000 signatures for the petition. Max Page is a member of the union in Amherst. “I'm confident this will become law,” he told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on January 4.