BAY STATERS: Protect Your Communities on Election Day

Massachusetts voters are facing 3 dangerous ballot initiatives that would jeopardize our state’s economic recovery and future prosperity.  
 
Please Vote "NO" on Questions 1, 2 & 3 on Election Day!
  • QUESTION 1 would remove the Massachusetts sales tax on alcohol, resulting in a $110 million loss of funding for drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services. (Read more below)
  • QUESTION 2 would take away opportunities for affordable housing across Massachusetts by repealing a key component of the Affordable Housing Law, which would make homeownership and even renting more difficult for a broad range of people, including seniors, working families, veterans, and people with disabilities. (Read more below)
  • QUESTION 3 would reduce the state sales tax from 6.25% to 3%, which would eliminate over $2.5 billion that goes to schools, public safety, parks, roads repairs, human services, programs for youth and seniors, and much more. (Read more below)
Vote "NO" on Questions 1, 2 and 3 to help preserve the economic well-being of our communities!

Sincerely,
 
 
Karen Kraut
United for a Fair Economy
 
Why Keep the Alcohol Tax? (Question 1)

The following and more on Question 1 are available at www.DontRepealAlcoholTax.com

Alcohol is not a necessity and does not deserve a special tax exemption. The only goods in Massachusetts exempt from the sales tax are necessities like food, clothing, and prescriptions. If anything should be taxed, products like cigarettes and alcohol should be.
 
Massachusetts doesn't need a special tax break for alcohol.
  • With the state facing a serious budget deficit, Massachusetts should not repeal this mainstream tax on an unhealthy product, particularly when the funds are dedicated to public health programs for residents with behavioral health problems. these revenues are dedicated to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery support service critical to 100,000 Massachusetts residents.
  • Those who argue that the tax hurts sales at Massachusetts liquor stores have their facts wrong. Massachusetts revenue department officials reported increased alcohol sales in the five months after the tax was applied, and New Hampshire officials say they did not see any evidence of increased alcohol sales to Massachusetts residents.
  • Massachusetts has some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse addiction in the country—the last thing we need is to take money away from prevention and treatment services in order to make alcohol cheaper.
  • A Department of Public Health study found that Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of teen drinking in the country, with 40% of those ages 12 to 20 using alcohol. Removing this tax would lead to more teen drinking.
  • The alcohol tax literally helps saves lives by reducing teen drinking and funding treatment services to help people beat addictions and getting their lives back on track.
Why Protect Affordable Housing? (Question 2)
 
The following and more on Question 2 is available at www.ProtectAffordableHousing.org
 
Rents and homeownership prices continue to be out of reach for many residents of our state. Most people earning average incomes cannot afford to buy a home. And, with the current economic recession, thousands of families are struggling to make ends meet.
 
The Affordable Housing Law is the most effective tool Massachusetts has to create affordable housing.
  • The Affordable Housing Law has been responsible for 80% of the affordable housing created in Massachusetts over the past decade, outside the major cities.
  • Approximately 58,000 homes have been created for seniors and working and middle class families. Approximately 40,000 are apartments and 18,000 are homeownership.
  • Of these, 29,000 homes are reserved for households below 80% of area median income (approximately $66,000 for a family of four in Greater Boston).
  • The Affordable Housing Law has prompted nearly 100 communities to develop affordable housing plans.
  • 51 cities and towns have met the 10% affordable housing threshold, more than double the number in 1997 (24). 40 communities are at the 8% or 9% threshold.
Why Maintain the Sales Tax? (Question 3)

The following and more on Question 3 are available at www.VoteNoQuestion3.com
 
The Sales Tax Initiative would slash revenues by $2.5 billion a year on top of the billions in cuts already made during this recession. How much is $2.5 billion? It equals one-half of all state spending on our 1,900 public schools. Or, looking at it another way, it is equal to two and a half times as much as the state spends each year on all of our community colleges and state universities.

Here’s where some of the pain would be felt.
  • Public Education. Our public schools and colleges would have to absorb a huge share of the cuts. There would be massive layoffs, bigger class sizes, disruption of programs and a decline in the quality of education in our schools and colleges.
  • Health Care. More cuts will hurt already struggling community hospitals, school nursing services, public health initiatives and community health centers.
  • Quality of Life. Local aid to cities and towns would be slashed, affecting public safety, parks and recreation, senior services, libraries, road repair and so much more.
  • Economy. By causing the sudden layoff of so many teachers, firefighters, police officers, social workers and others while we are still coping with a recession, a cut of this size could halt – or even reverse – the state’s economic recovery.
  • Property Taxes. Cities and towns would be forced to raise property taxes and seek overrides simply to maintain basic services.
 

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