MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION : HOW I’LL VOTE ON THE 4 BALLOT QUESTIONS

1 paid sick leave

^ yes : Question 4 — paid sick leave for workers

1 gas tax repeal

^ NO : Question 1 would repeal the gas tax index and thus leave the state behind in its vital work of repairing roads and bridges & keeping the “T” running properly

—- —- —-

Four referenda will go before our state’s November voters. They are these :

Question 1 Gas taxes : Repeals 2013 law that automatically increases gas taxes according to inflation

Question 2 Environment : Expands the state’s beverage container recycling law to include all non-alcoholic containers

Question 3 Gambling : Repeals a 2011 law allowing resort casinos

Question 4 Labor : Entitles certain employees to earn and utilize paid sick days

I intend to vote No on the first question, yes on the econd; no on the third question, yes on the fourth. The followking reasons decide it for me.

Question One : last year the legislature and governor enacted am $ 800 million tax increase that will fund our badly need transportation repair and improvements. Anyone who takes the “T” to work, or to whatever, knows how often it breaks down or otherwise delays. Numerous roads in our state are in such disrepair that you can easily bteak an axle driving on them. Bridges crumble even as I write.

the section of that tax increase objected to by the people who placed this Question on the ballot is the indexing of its gas tax increase to inflation : if inflation rises by one percent, so does the tax, without need of a further legislative vote. opponents say this is unconstitutional, but is it ? Social Security includes an automatic “COLA”of living adjustment). Why is it constitutional to index paying out more money but not to take it in ?

Opposition to the indexed gas tax increase is sort of a car drivers’ complaint. the longer your car commute to work, the more gas tax you’ll pay. But so what ? The longer your commute, the more public roads you use. Those roads require maintenance, the cost of which goes up with inflation. To deny the state ability to keep up with inflation is simply selfish, or a rant of the moment,utterly short-sighted.

I am voting NO.

Question Two : expanding the recycling of bottles to cover all non-alcoholic beverages makes common sense. As of now, many such bottles simply go into the trash. With recycling, they will add to the hard-earned incomes of scavengers, who already do a marvelous job o scouring the streets and sidewalks of our state in search of bottle refunds.

I am voting YES.

Question Three : the anti-casino people decry that you or i should have the right to spend our money on an entertainment they disapprove of. What business is it of theirs ? They also talk about gambling addiction ? Heck, that bridge has already been crossed. Has any of them visited a Keno parlor lately ? Then they warn of increased crime. Oh really ? Nowhere is more heavily guarded by security men and police officers than casinos.

Meanwhile, casinos bring lots of jobs, plenty of excitement, and glitzy entertainment.

I am voting NO.

Question 4 : that employees should be able to earn and use sick days offends some who think that employment is a punishment, not a service; that work should be hard, precarious, and cost-cut. I feel just the opposite : that work is a huge service to the community by those who have it; that work should be more secure, not less; more predictable, not hap-hazard; and that workers should not be cost-cut at every turn and for every life accident that keeps them from punching a clock of a day and doing the job from nine o’c lock sharp to five on the button. As i see it, worthy workers are doing their job even when they are sick, because they will, after sickness, return, trained and ready; and their employer is better off knowing that they will return than having to spend money and waste time seeking (and training) possible replacements.

I am voting YES.

—- Mike freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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