Candidate Opinions on 2010 Ballot Initiatives

As election day rapidly approaches, we'd like to take a minute to share some of our candidates' thoughts on the three initiatives that will appear on statewide ballots. The Green-Rainbow Party itself has chosen to not take any particular stance on these issues, and instead let its candidates speak to the nuances of each question. With that in mind, here are several opinions issued by our candidates.

Question 1: Repeal of sales tax on beer and wine

Question Summary

"This proposed law would remove the Massachusetts sales tax on alcoholic beverages and alcohol, where the sale of such beverages and alcohol or their importation into the state is already subject to a separate excise tax under state law." - Secretary of the Commonwealth

Opinions From Our Candidates

"I will vote NO on this ballot question. While the beer and wine tax is regressive and adds to the excessive tax burden falling on the shoulders of working families, I do not support repealing it as a stand alone measure. To do so would add to this year’s $2.5 billion dollar revenue shortfall, and would worsen the loss of critical services that will hurt working families. I am in favor of rolling back the sales tax as part of a comprehensive package of tax reforms that would provide a tax break to overburdened middle income and working families - and ask those at the top to pay their fair share. I will pursue such tax reform as Governor, and I believe that we can cut back this tax as part of that package." - Jill Stein, Candidate for Governor,

Question 2: Repeal of the Chapter 40B Affordable Housing Law

Question Summary

"This proposed law would repeal an existing state law that allows a qualified organization wishing to build government-subsidized housing that includes low- or moderate-income units to apply for a single comprehensive permit from a city or town’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA), instead of separate permits from each local agency or official having jurisdiction over any aspect of the proposed housing." - Secretary of the Commonwealth

Opinions From Our Candidates

"I will vote NO. Although this law is highly flawed, we are getting some affordable housing out of it and we don’t have a substitute ready. However, I do believe that Chapter 40B is a poorly written law that isn’t producing enough affordable housing, is interfering with proper community land use planning, and is being abused by real estate developers. It urgently needs to be replaced with a better law. I think it's incumbent on those of us who are saying NO to this repeal effort to pledge that we work to rewrite 40B as soon as possible and get an effective affordable housing law in its place - one that wouldn't allow the abuses that are going on now. I'll make that pledge now." - Jill Stein, Candidate for Governor,

"I am planning to vote NO on question 2. Although 40B could be improved upon, it has provided a good framework. It does not warrant outright appeal, which would leave nothing in place to guide or encourage development of affordable housing. In general, unless a law has been an abject failure, or unless the legislature has been negligent at effectively and transparently addressing an issue, I prefer a legislative process to law-making, law-adjusting or law-repealing rather than a process of binding referenda." - Scott Laugenour, Candidate for State Representative in the 4th Berkshire District,

Question 3: Lowering the sales tax rate to 3%

Question Summary

"This proposed law would reduce the state sales and use tax rates (which were 6.25% as of September 2009) to 3% as of January 1, 2011. It would make the same reduction in the rate used to determine the amount to be deposited with the state Commissioner of Revenue by non-resident building contractors as security for the payment of sales and use tax on tangible personal property used in carrying out their contracts." - Secretary of the Commonwealth

Opinions From Our Candidates

"I will vote NO because there is already a $2.5 billion dollar budget shortfall looming for next year. The loss of an additional $2.4 billion from the proposed reduction of the sales tax from 6.25 to 3% would be devastating to programs that working people rely on – from public schools to public safety, health care, the safety net and the environment. I have been a longtime opponent of the sales tax because it is regressive and it is unfair to retail businesses near our state’s borders. I do support an immediate rollback of the sales tax to 5% and a further reduction in a phased way over the next few years. I will propose a comprehensive package of tax reforms to accomplish this.

I am particularly concerned by the statements of Governor Patrick and Charlie Baker that they will cut schools and health care if Question 3 passes. I won’t. I will cut the wasteful giveaways to well-connected business interests. This is a fundamental difference between me and the other three candidates." - Jill Stein, Candidate for Governor,

Mark Miller, Candidate for State Representative in the 3rd Berkshire District, has called ballot question three "ill-advised", referencing a study done by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation which determined that the passing of this initiative "would result in across-the-board cuts of approximately 30 percent in virtually all state programs, including local aid, higher education, human services, prisons, courts, environmental protection, and state parks and beaches". -

"While Laugenour opposes Question 3 on the ballot to roll back the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent, he said the referendum gets voters talking about tax fairness. Laugenour said he would have supported returning to a 5 percent sales tax, before the Legislature voted to increase to the current rate last year." - Laugenour predicts win, an article profiling Scott Laugenour, Candidate for State Representative in the 4th Berkshire District,