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LWVMA Statement on 2022 Ballot Questions: Not Taking Positions

February 7, 2022

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is not taking any positions on the 2022 Massachusetts ballot questions. This means that League members may participate in Yes or No campaigns as individuals but should not do anything to make the public think that the LWVMA or a Local League has endorsed a Yes or No campaign.

How Does The Board Decide?

The LWVMA Board votes to support, oppose, or take no position on specific ballot questions based on positions or goals previously researched and adopted by the League, which are described in Impact on Issues (LWVUS) or Where We Stand (LWVMA).

Constitutional Amendment Ballot Question

The LWVMA Board voted to take no position on the “Massachusetts Income Tax for Education and Transportation Amendment,” nicknamed the “Fair Share Amendment” and the “Millionaires Tax.” This proposed amendment will appear on the November ballot. If approved by the voters, it would create an additional 4% tax on the portion of income above $1 million and earmark that income tax revenue for public schools, colleges, and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation.

The Board has voted to take no position on this constitutional amendment because its earmarking (opposed by the League) is partially countered by the move toward a graduated income tax (supported by the League).

  • The League is unequivocally opposed to the earmarking of revenues, especially through a constitutional amendment with no mechanism for periodic review and with no “sunset” clause. 
    • The League firmly believes that the Legislature should set government program priorities through the budgetary process and annual appropriations.
    • The League’s opposition to earmarking applies even when the earmarks would support other goals of the League, like equitable education funding or bolstering public transportation to meet societal needs and to combat climate change.

 

  • On the other hand, both the LWVUS and LWVMA support a graduated income tax, and this amendment would be a step in that direction, because it would add one new graduated tax bracket.

 

Citizen-Initiated Ballot Questions

There are a few citizen-initiated ballot questions that could appear on the November ballot. Each proposes a new law. If the legislature does not pass these laws by May, supporters of the ballot questions may choose to collect another round of signatures in July to put these questions on the ballot. The League has no positions on these topics, so the LWVMA takes no position on these potential questions:

  • A law that would raise the number of licenses a single alcohol retailer can own
  • Two different versions of a law that would define and regulate contracts between app-based drivers and companies. (Example: Uber)

The last potential ballot question would give the Commonwealth’s insurance commissioner power to require dental insurers to partially refund premiums to patients if a plan spent more than 17 percent on administrative expenses (as opposed to patient care and quality improvement). The League’s stated goal for health care is: “An affordable health care system that provides equal access to quality health care for all.” With no clear answer as to whether a 17 percent cutoff would be the most appropriate route to achieving that goal, LWVMA takes no position on this ballot question.

You can read more about the citizen-initiated ballot questions on mass.gov or ballotpedia.