The new millionaire tax that went into effect in Massachusetts this year will be providing funding to allow every student in the state to get a free school lunch, CBS News reported.
According to the 2024 state budget, the new 4 percent tax on Massachusetts millionaires accounts for $1 billion of the state’s $56 billion budget. A portion of that $1 billion will be used to offer all public school students free lunches, the State House News Service reported.
The millionaire tax, which was approved by Massachusetts voters in 2022 and went into effect this year, adds an extra 4 percent to the state income tax for all state residents whose incomes exceed $1 million, making the income tax in Massachusetts the highest in the United States.
Massachusett’s Democrat Governor Maura Healy signed the 2024 budget into law earlier this month, making the state the seventh in the country to provide free lunches to school children since the COVID-related funding for “free” school meals expired.
Democrat state Rep. Jim McGovern said in a statement earlier this month that “universal school meals” will “change lives.” He said no student in the state should go “through the school day on an empty stomach.”
More than half, $524 million, of the $1 billion in millionaire tax revenue is earmarked for education. In addition to paying for school lunches, the funding will expand childcare services and financial aid for college.
The rest of the proceeds from the millionaire tax will go to transportation initiatives like bridges and mass transit.
In late 2022, the pandemic-era program that paid for all US school children to receive breakfast and lunch expired.
Anti-hunger advocates have been demanding that lawmakers expand school meal programs arguing that studies show a link between hunger and a student’s poor performance in school.