There are four important referendum questions on the statewide ballot for November 4. Here is where the Green-Rainbow Party stands on each of them.
NO on 1: Don't undermine the gas tax
A NO vote will allow the gas tax to continue to be adjusted to keep place with inflation.
The gas tax provides dedicated funding for transportation infrastructure, fixing our roads and bridges and public transportation. Our roads and bridges are crumbling and our public transportation systems are in need of major improvements and expansions. Freezing the gas tax would hurt the Massachusetts economy and continue the cycle of putting off needed transportation expansions and maintenance.
YES on 2: Expand the Bottle Bill
A YES vote will expand the Bottle Bill to include all non-alcoholic beverage containers. This will increase recycling rates, result in less trash and litter, and reduce waste management costs for our cities and towns.
The Green-Rainbow Party has long supported expanding the bottle bill and going much further to reduce solid waste. GRP members have led efforts to ban the sale of all single serving bottled water altogether, as has been done in the town of Concord. We don't need these containers - water is already readily available at our taps. And even with deposit bills, many bottles end up in the trash rather than being recycled.
YES on 3: Stop casino gambling in Massachusetts.
Casinos are job-killing and community-destroying machines that exploit a public health problem - compulsive gambling. They take money that should be circulating within our state economy and send it to the coffers of out-of-state corporations. We should be helping people break their gambling habits - not encouraging them to waste their money at casinos.
The Green-Rainbow Party has been the only political party fighting the casino gambling initiative ever since Governor Deval Patrick unveiled it. The social costs of increased gambling-- such as crime, corruption, and the destruction of families due to gambling addiction--- are greater than any tax revenues they produce. In fact, throughout America, casinos have hurt local businesses and undermined the quality of life in their host communities. As a source of government revenues, gambling taxes are among the most regressive. And the last thing we need on Beacon Hill is an influx of corrupting money from the gambling industry. Instead of casinos, the Green-Rainbow Party supports building healthy communities with thriving economies based on community owned, cooperatively run enterprises that serve the needs of our community, are environmentally sustainable, and do not exploit customers. In these communities, we will teach our chldren not to gamble rather than letting government promote the gambling industry.
YES on 4: Let all workers earn sick time.
A YES vote will allow workers in Massachusetts to earn up to 40 hours of sick time a year to take care of their own health or a family member’s health. Workers need and deserve this sick time.
Passing Question 4 provides a basic level of dignity for all workers, instead of forcing them to choose between a sick loved one and their job. It also prohibits employer retaliation against workers who take time off due to illness. Question 4 is part of a national movement to provide basic dignity for workers nationwide. Connecticut, New York City, Newark the District of Columbia, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and San Diego all have earned sick time laws in place. The Green-Rainbow Party feels it is time that Massachusetts joined them.
For official voter information on all four ballot questions, see http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/ele14/pip14idx.htm