A Guide to the Massachusetts Voter Questions

Staff Writer: Kamryn Kobel

Email: kkobel@umassd.edu

Elections are on Tuesday, November 8th. You can find the nearest polling place by using this website. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the 2022 ballot questions for Massachusetts voters:

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Question One: Increased Taxation on Millionaires  

This question proposes a new amendment to the state constitution that would place an additional 4% state income tax on taxable incomes over $1 million.

Tax money would go to public education (including colleges and universities), infrastructure, and public transportation. The amendment would begin applying to taxes on January 1, 2023. According to Tufts University, the tax would raise $1.3 million for education and infrastructure improvements.  Only about 0.6% of Massachusetts residents would be affected by this taxation.

Concerns about adding this amendment to the constitution include the economic impact. However, Tufts University says that the tax would amount to under 0.3% of Massachusetts residents’ personal income.

Others are concerned that this taxation could drive high-earning households to move out of the state. Studies show that around 500 families could be expected to move out of Massachusetts, reducing the state’s millionaire tax income by about 5%.

Voting yes would amend the constitution and increase taxation on incomes of over one million, while voting no would make no change. 

Question Two: Dental Insurance Regulation  

This question proposes a law that would regulate how much money dental insurers spend on patient care.

This law would require that dental insurers spend at least 83% of patient premiums to be spent on the patients’ dental care and procedures. If the insurers do not spend 83% of the premium they have collected on their patients’ care, then insurance companies would be required to refund patients.

Additionally, under this law, dental insurers would be required to disclose their expected financials to the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. 

According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website, “The proposed measure has no discernible material fiscal consequences for state and municipal government finance.” 

Self-insured groups would not be impacted by this law. 

Some are concerned about this law because it is the first of its kind in the United States. No other state has a similar law. 

Voting yes would expand regulation on dental insurance rates and premium expenditure. Voting no would make no change to the current dental insurance system. 

Question Three: Liquor Licenses 

Currently, chain realtors can hold up to nine beer and wine licenses. Under this proposed law, stores would be able to hold up to eighteen licenses by the year 2031. 

This law would also limit the number of all-liquor licenses to seven. If a retailer currently has more than seven, however, they would be able to keep them. 

This law would also increase the fees for selling alcohol to underaged individuals. Under this law, the fees would be calculated by the store’s total sales revenue instead of the revenue from alcohol sales alone. 

It would also enforce face-to-face liquor sales, making the purchase of alcohol through self-checkout transactions illegal. 

This law would not impact licensing laws for bars and restaurants. 

According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website, “The proposed measure has no discernible material fiscal consequences for state and municipal government finance.”

Concerns for this proposed law have to do with the fees for underage alcohol sales. This method of calculating fines would have a greater impact on stores that do not only sell alcohol, such as supermarkets. 

Voting yes would increase the number of beer and liquor licenses a chain can hold, while limiting the number of all-liquor licenses. It would increase fines for the sale of alcohol to underaged individuals, and prohibit buying alcohol through self-checkout.

Voting no would maintain the current number of alcohol licenses that a retailer is legally allowed to hold. Voting no would also maintain the current fines and legality of self-checkout. 

Question Four: Driver’s Licenses for Unauthorized Residents   

This question either approves or dismisses the law passed by the Massachusetts legislature that “allows Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a standard driver’s license or learner’s permit if they meet all the other qualifications for a standard license or learner’s permit, including a road test and insurance, and provide proof of their identity, date of birth, and residency,” as according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website

The passing of this law would not allow people who cannot provide proof of lawful residency in the United States to obtain a REAL ID. This law would not impact these people’s immigration status or grant them other benefits. 

People who cannot provide proof of lawful presence would still need to provide valid forms of identification.

The applicant must provide one document with a photograph and one with a date of birth. These types of documents would include valid passports, driver’s licenses from other states, United States marriage and divorce certificates, birth certificates, and foreign national identification cards.

Obtaining a license in this way would not register the person to vote. 

Concerns include the sharing of the applicant’s personal data and the exposing of personal records through the RMV system. Some are also concerned with the RMV’s capability of confirming the validity of documents from foreign countries. 

Question four is a veto referendum. Voting yes would approve this law before it goes into effect on July 1, 2023, while voting no would annul it. 

Information for this article was gathered from Tufts University and William Frances Galvin (Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts)’s website. 

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