All about the 2022 Ballot Questions

LWVMA sponsored three forums on Ballot Questions. You can find the recordings here.

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has taken no position on three of the four 2022 statewide ballot questions, so on those we are free to take whatever position we like—as long as we do or say nothing to suggest that our position is that of the League. You may support whatever position you like on these AS AN INDIVIDUAL, but do or say nothing to suggest you are representing a LEAGUE position.

Question #1: Additional Tax on Income Over One Million Dollars

Note: In case you have forgotten why the League takes no position on Question #1, it is because we have both a strong position in support of a graduated income tax (and this would be the first step to one) but also a very strong position against laws which contain earmarks (in this case, funding directed to transportation and education). For more information on this, see the LWVMA statement here.

Fair Share Massachusetts says that the taxpayers would benefit tremendously from better roads and bridges and more funding for public schools, K through College/University and that the new tax would not be felt by 99% of Massachusetts tax-payers.

The Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike campaign says it would drive businesses out of the state and harm many owners of small businesses.

Question 2: Regulation of Dental Insurance.

Currently, those who sell medical insurance, because of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), have to refund part of the premiums they collect when they spend less than 88% of premiums on the medical costs of the people they insure. There is no limit for dental insurance plans. This law would set a minimum of 83% for payment on dental costs. If insurers pay less, they must refund the appropriate part of the premiums they collected. Question 2 is broadly supported by organizations of dentists, and opposed by insurance companies.

Question 3: Expanded Availability of Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages

This is a confusing proposal about expanded availability of numbers and types of licenses that seems mainly to negatively impact stores selling groceries and alcoholic beverages, which would be more limited than package stores in the number and type of licenses they could get.

The law would have three lesser components of interest. Any sale involving alcohol would have to be handled by a person: it could not go through an automated or self-checkout. In addition, fines for sales to minors would be based on the gross sales of a store, no longer solely on their gross sales of alcoholic beverages. In addition, out-of-state licenses could be taken as IDs, bringing Massachusetts into line with all other states in the USA.

There is no active campaign against Question 3 at this time.

For further information: consult Ballotpedia Massachusetts 2022 here, or the Secretary of State’s website here.

Ballot Question #4: Eligibility for Driver's Licenses

Notes: (1) The League is advocating for Question 4, which is supported by a position on immigration adopted by concurrence at the 2019 State Convention. Our Legislative Action Committee endorsed and lobbied for House Bill 4805, which became law. (2) Question 4 was not included in the Red Book from the Secretary’s Office because it was accepted as a ballot question after the date of printing. However, it is included as page 4 of the Secretary's on line site.

PRO: The central LWVMA argument is that roads will be safer when undocumented immigrants can get drivers’ licenses after showing knowledge of the rules of the road and getting insurance. The Registry of Motor Vehicles already issues licenses to people who cannot vote; it will be adding another group to holders of green cards and teenagers under 18.

CON: The opposition campaign focuses on its concern on the possibility of enabling undocumented people to vote. The League of Women Voters encourages voting: for citizens. We would not be supporting this question if we thought noncitizens would be voting as a result. Seventeen other states have passed similar laws without any impact on who is voting.

CONFUSION: There is, as a recent Globe article pointed out, another confusing factor about this proposal. Massachusetts voters are used to voting no if they do not want an existing law rejected. But for Question 4, if you favor retaining the law, you need to vote yes. Another possible source of confusion: the opposition campaign is “Fair and Secure Massachusetts”, similar to “Fair Share Massachusetts” the name of the campaign supporting Question 1 (“The Millionaire’s Tax”).

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