September 19, 2022
The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts endorses Yes on 4 for Safer Roads – Ballot Question 4 – and is “taking no position” on Ballot Questions 1-3 for the November 8, 2022 election. This means that League members may participate in Yes or No campaigns for Ballot Questions 1-3 as individuals but should not do anything to make the public think that 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
Question 1: Additional Tax on Income Over One Million Dollars
The LWVMA Board voted to take no position on the “Additional Tax on Income Over One Million Dollars,” nicknamed the “Fair Share Amendment” and the “Millionaires Tax.” 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
Question 2: Regulation of Dental Insurance
Ballot Question 2 gives 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.
Question 3: Expanded Availability of Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages
Question 3 proposes a new law to raise the number of licenses a single alcohol retailer can own. The League has no positions on this topic, so the LWVMA takes no position on this question.
Question 4: Eligibility for Driver’s Licenses
LWVMA supports a YES vote on Question 4. A YES vote keeps the Work and Family Mobility Act as law in Massachusetts.
The Work and Family Mobility Act ensures that all qualified state residents, regardless of immigration status, can apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license starting on July 1, 2023. The law was enacted on June 9, 2022. Massachusetts became the 17th state to pass such a law, joining our neighbors New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont. LWVMA supported this bill during the 2019-20 session and is an active member of the coalition, Yes on 4 For Safer Roads.
Review our League position to support the law in Where We Stand, p. 49-50: “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts should provide driving certificates, or some other form of proof of driving validation to undocumented drivers, allowing those drivers to drive legally and ensuring that they would have passed a state driving test. The Commonwealth should permit and encourage auto insurance providers to issue insurance coverage to holders of such driving certificates.”
Allowing all drivers to comply with testing and insurance rules will make everyone safer on the roads. Everyone needs a driver’s license to drive to their workplace to support themselves and their family members; and to drive their children to school and to medical appointments. Endorsed by 60+ law enforcement officials, the law is projected to generate $5M in taxes and $6M from fees, inspections, and other services within three years.
The law does not allow non-citizens to vote and does not automatically register non-citizens to vote. The RMV already issues licenses to people who are not eligible to vote–non-citizens with green cards and people under 18, for example–with no voting problems.
Read more about the Ballot Questions at the Secretary of State’s website.