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Tax Fairness

For information on Tax Fairness policy in the states or to receive the latest updates from the Working Group of State Legislators for Tax Fairness, please contact Susan Mottet, Legislative Director (smottet@progressivestates.org, 202.802.9384 x121)

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State Legislators for Tax Fairness

The Working Group of State Legislators for Tax Fairness works at the state level to promote fair tax policies that collect enough revenue to fund critical state programs, such as education, health care, and public safety. In addition, the Working Group works to influence federal policy that affects states, such as federal deficit reduction strategies and streamlined sales tax collection.

Legislators in the Working Group work together to successfully move strategic tax fairness legislation and explore innovative policy solutions to raise revenue. Through the Working Group, legislators from across the nation engage with experts, partners, and colleagues to share best practices on how to advance progressive tax reform in their respective states.

Highlights

Formed in 2012, the Working Group’s first action was to send a letter to Congress, signed by over 160 state legislators from all 50 states, urging Congressional leaders to avoid a cuts-only approach to sequestration. Moving forward, this group will bring together state legislators from across the country to advocate for comprehensive, progressive tax reform and defend against regressive plans that place an undue burden on the poor, middle class, and seniors.

Chair of the Working Group

Representative Jay Kaufman, MA
State Representative, Massachusetts, Fifteenth Middlesex District
Director, Center for Leadership and Public Life, Northeastern University

Photo of Representative Jay Kaufman, MA Jay Kaufman has served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since January 1995. He is in his second term as Chair of the legislature’s Committee on Revenue, and previously spent two terms atop the Committee on Public Service. He has also served on the committees on Commerce and Labor, Criminal Justice, Health Care, Federal Financial Assistance, and Long Term Debt and Capital Expenditure. His primary legislative interests are education, health care, electoral and campaign reform, environmental protection, and social and economic justice. He chaired a special task force that developed landmark legislation on medical records privacy, a committee examining the social and ethical implications of emerging genetic technology, and a special commission that explored alternatives to property taxes to fund public schools. During his freshman term, he broke a six-year logjam to win passage of the Rivers Act, a major environmental protection bill. He is currently leading the effort to pass an Act for Healthy Massachusetts, a bill that would encourage the substitution of safer alternatives to some of the most toxic chemicals in common use today. He has sponsored tax reform legislation (including the Property Tax Circuit Breaker) and has consistently fought for budget increases for METCO, the state’s premier racial desegregation program. Jay led the legislative fight to pass and implement the state’s campaign finance reform law. His “OPEN HOUSE” public policy forum, now in its sixteenth season, has been recognized with the prestigious Beacon Award as the nation’s best televised government relations series. In 2012, he was named as the “Tax Lawmaker of the Year” by Tax Analysts. Prior to entering the political arena, Jay founded and, for 14 years, headed the Massachusetts Bay Consortium, an association of eighteen colleges and universities offering interdisciplinary environmental education and environmental policy programming. Jay subsequently directed a grant-funded project at Brandeis University to reframe the debate about the mission, governance and funding of our public education system. He was recently named founding director of Northeastern University’s new Center for Leadership and Public Life where he teaches, consults, and helps shape the University’s leadership degree programs.

Jay lives in Lexington with his wife Cathy, an American Sign Language interpreter educator, and their two sons, recent graduates of Colby College and the Northeastern School of Law, respectively.

Community, Resources, Messaging, Fact Sheets, and more

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