On September 28th, a large group of Watertown citizens met to talk about the November 4th Election. We all felt the Ballot Questions were extremely important, and all faced monied opposition. We voted and endorsed our majority opinion on these questions. Later 25 citizens chipped in to print up our positions and take the issue voter to voter.
On Question #1 we voted NO to the repeal of the indexed gas tax. Among all states, Massachusetts is now #1 in education and #2 in defective bridges. The indexed gas tax means that MA can count on a steam of revenue dedicated to road, public transportation and bridges for the next ten years. The road fund had been depleted partially by the Big Dig and partially by legislative inaction.
On Question #2, we voted YES on expanding the bottle bill. The lobbying arm of the American Beverage Producers has dedicated $8,000,000 to defeating the expansion, spending that money on lies and misleading statistics. There’s only one statistic that counts; 23% of containers without a deposit get recycled, while 80% of those with deposits do get recycled. And the 67% of containers without deposits that don’t get recycled? You pay for them with your tax dollars to clean them up from our parks, streams and public spaces.
On Question #3, we voted to Repeal the Casino Bill. Casinos will end up being losers for the state, just as they are all around the country. Local communities must pony up for police, fire and emergency, crime, bankruptcy, traffic, low income jobs, and lower home values, all products of casinos. You think a casino in Everett or Springfield isn’t your problem because you live in Watertown. With competition from a casino, Lottery sales go down, hurting the budgets of ALL communities, including Watertown. And if the casinos don’t live up to their promises, who holds them accountable? Ask Connecticut where casino revenue has gone down 6 years in a row, or Tennessee where they have a shortfall on educational funding because the casinos figures were less than expected.
On Question #4, we voted YES to give low income workers sick time. I explain it this way, “You’ve in a restaurant and the person waiting on you is sick and can’t afford to take the day off and they are bringing you your food.” Or. “your child comes home from school sick because another child in the class was sick but the parent sent them to school because they couldn’t afford to miss work to stay home with the child”. I heard people say that workers would take advantage of it, but the law has plenty of restrictions. Among them; one can accrue only 5 days a year, they can only use them after they have been employed for 90 days, and they do not get paid for unused days.
We also voted to endorse the state-wide Democratic ticket including Martha Coakley for Governor.
If you are interested in helping to help get out the word, or if you would like a copy of our Ballot Question sheet, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GO VOTE NOVEMBER 4th! Or don’t complain.
Richard Marcus, ProgressiveWatertown
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