An Important Election With Big Ballot Questions

This Tuesday, November 8, is state election day in Massachusetts.

With two-term incumbent Governor Charlie Baker having chosen not to seek re-election, voters will be choosing a new governor for the first time in eight years.

The contest between Democrat Maura Healey and Republican Geoff Diehl represents the starkest contrast between two candidates for the governorship in our state in almost 100 years.

Healey and Diehl espouse polar-opposite views on almost every topic, most notably regarding former President Donald Trump (Diehl is an unabashed supporter, Healey is not).

It is not an overstatement to say that the future direction of our state is dependent on Tuesday’s outcome, and for that reason alone, everyone should get out to vote.

There also are four ballot questions for voters to consider. The two that have garnered the most attention are Question 1 and Question 4.

Question 1 would impose an additional four percent state tax on the income of residents that exceeds $1 million. Net income up to $1 million would still be taxed at the five percent rate, with only the amount exceeding $1 million taxed at the higher rate.

It should be noted that the state legislature cannot enact a graduated income tax. The Mass. Constitution does not allow the legislature to do so, and thus voters essentially will be determining whether to amend our state constitution to permit a higher tax rate on high-income individuals.

The question is being supported by the citizens group Mass. Fair Share and is being opposed primarily by a number of ultra-wealthy individuals who have contributed millions of dollars to the Vote No campaign.

Question 4 on the state ballot essentially does this: It allows any resident of Massachusetts, regardless of immigration status, to obtain a Mass. driver’s license, provided they meet all of the usual requirements of obtaining a license. In addition, the new law specifically states that such persons will not be eligible to become registered voters and will not be able to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license

The Mass. legislature already has approved a law to do this. That law is set to go into effect on July 1, 2023. However, those who oppose the law gathered enough signatures to place the question on the ballot. A “Yes” vote on Question 4 will allow the law to go into effect on July 1, 2023.

We would note that a wide array of various groups, including police chiefs, district attorneys, and other law enforcement agencies, strongly support a “Yes” vote on Question 4. In addition, similar laws have been enacted in many other states.

As a final reminder to our readers, early voting is now underway in every city and town hall across the state. However, early voting ends this Friday — there is no early voting this weekend — so if you do not vote before Friday at your local city or town hall, you will have to go to the polls on Tuesday.

With so much at stake, we urge all of our readers to get out and vote.

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