Educate Yourself on Critical Nov. 4th Ballot Questions

October 21, 2014
Educate Yourself on Critical Nov. 4th Ballot Questions

In addition to candidates for state office, voters on November 4th will have a chance to make decisions on 4 ballot questions affecting the entire state. SCC is an active member of two coalitions working on ballot questions:  Vote NO on Question 1, led by the Transportation for Massachusetts Coalition, and Vote YES on Question 4, led by Raise Up Massachusetts.  Information on all four Questions is available on the Secretary of State’s website.

Question 1: Repealing indexed gasoline tax
This proposed law would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon.

A YES vote would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.

A NO vote would make no change in the laws regarding the gas tax.

SCC position: Vote NO!.  As an active member of Transportation for Massachusetts, SCC was involved in the campaign to pass a major State Transportation Reform bill last year, and indexing the Gas Tax is a key piece of that legislation.  In addition to the critical repair needs of many of our roads and bridges, state funding for the Green Line is also a major part of the transportation reform package. 

Click here for more information on Vote No on Question 1

Question 2: Expanding the bottle bill
This proposed law would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law, also known as the Bottle Bill, to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic non-carbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption, except beverages primarily derived from dairy products, infant formula, and FDA approved medicines, adjust the container deposit amount every five years to reflect (to the nearest whole cent) changes in the consumer price index, increase the minimum handling fee that beverage distributors must pay dealers for each properly returned empty beverage container, and set up a state Clean Environment Fund.

A YES vote would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks with certain exceptions, increase the associated handling fees, and make other changes to the law.

A NO vote would make no change in the laws regarding beverage container deposits.

SCC does not have an organizational position on this question.

Question 3: Repealing the casino legislation
This proposed law would (1) prohibit the Massachusetts Gaming Commission from issuing any license for a casino or other gaming establishment with table games and slot machines, or any license for a gaming establishment with slot machines; (2) prohibit any such casino or slots gaming under any such licenses that the Commission might have issued before the proposed law took effect; and (3) prohibit wagering on the simulcasting of live greyhound races. It would also change the definition of “illegal gaming” under Massachusetts law to include the simulcasting of live greyhound races, as well as table games and slot machines at Commission-licensed casinos, and slot machines at other Commission-licensed gaming establishments.

A YES vote would prohibit casinos, any gaming establishment with slot machines, and wagering on simulcast greyhound races.

A NO vote would make no change in the current laws regarding gaming.

SCC does not have an organizational position on this question.

Question 4: Earned sick time for all workers
This proposed law would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions.

Employees who work for employers having eleven or more employees could earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employees working for smaller employers could earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.

A YES vote would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions.

A NO vote would make no change in the laws regarding earned sick time.

SCC position: Vote YES! Jobs for Somerville and SCC are active members of the Raise Up MA coalition, which has been working since last year to support this initiative. If Question 4 is approved, about 1 million workers across the state, including 38% of Somerville workers will gain access to earned sick time for themselves and their families. Many of these workers are low-wage workers who are currently forced to choose between caring for their families and keeping their jobs. We believe that a yes vote on Question 4 will benefit Massachusetts workers, business, and residents.

Click here for information on Vote Yes on Question 4

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