Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No, No and No! Easy to Remember how to answer the Ballot Questions

Executive Summary : For those of you who don't like to read, here's a very easy rule. If you see a question on the ballot and it wants you to answer Yes or No, simply answer NO.

If you'd like to learn a bit more, read on...

Let's deal with them one at a time. I'll start with the easiest and go to the more complex decisions that need to be made on Tuesday, November 2nd.

The Easiest: NO on Question 2.

Question 2 wants to repeal 40B.

40B has produced an incredible amount of affordable housing in Massachusetts and I honestly believe that without it, we simply would not see any attention paid to an extreme need in Massachusetts. A lot of communities can't even point to a minimum of 10% of their housing stock being affordable. This is a bit disgusting. Leads to the only option being renting something you can't really afford in this part of the country. This leads to more devastating circumstances for two many people in Massachusetts. Since 40B, many communities have seen the 10% minimum met, but we still have a long way to go. Don't take away the incentive that is doing so much for families at 80% of the median income level.  The alternative will simply increase the homeless population as there will be no other alternative. We already see this today due to the affordable stock not being what it should be. NO on Question 2.

2nd Easiest: NO on Question 3.

You want to reduce the sales tax? Sounds good right? New Hampshire doesn't even have a sales tax, after all. Right? Well, sure, but they have ways of making up for that sales tax miss. If the sales tax goes away, we need that cash from somewhere. Sure, we could cut some government services, reduce waste, etc, but that should be a goal regardless. Giving up 2.5 Billion dollars in annual revenue just doesn't make sense. It will translate to higher property taxes at the city level. I'm actually surprised our Mayor hasn't publicly joined our council in getting behind a NO Vote on Question 3. It will have to translate to increased cuts to our city budget, a majority of which is targeted at education currently, so guess where the cuts are going to have to come. It just doesn't make sense for MA and it really doesn't make sense for Lynn.Vote No on Question 3

A Bit Tricky But Still Simple: NO on Question 1

There is a very effective commercial for the people in favor of repealing the alcohol tax. It shows a dude paying taxes on his alcohol twice and then it goes on to state that the sales tax on alcohol is only a year old. So, a bit of digging shows that the sales tax means $110 Million to our revenue stream. This is pretty good. I can't think of a better thing to tax, and I shop at Vinnin Liquors religiously. Perhaps too religiously. Again, you hear the New Hampshire argument from the border cities, but as soon as you ask those same people if they'd like higher property taxes instead, what do you think their answer is? I've seen our city budget. It got slashed this year. We can't do that again next year and the year after as a result of these losses in state revenue. Money does trickle down from the state in the form of local aid. We need to keep these streams intact. Sure, the federal government is a bit of a different story when it comes to overspending on the wrong things. That's NOT what we're talking about here. This is a state and local city issue and that is why we need to vote NO on Question 1. Keep the money coming to the state. Alcohol is not a necessity. The only reason you should be in favor of this is if you are a liquor store. Otherwise, vote NO on Question 1.


  1. No not my intent at all. Just to look at the big picture. The gross abuse of the section 8 program on behalf of the tenants who never want to leave it and the owners who love it are what the problem is. Its just so maddening to me I just try to forget about it.
    On the flip side a lot of these new developments in Boston require a % of the housing be made affordable. Do you want to pay say 800k for your condo and the other guy next door since he decided not to work as hard in life pay 150k for the same unit? Not fair to the people who work hard. Sometime you just need to be happy where you are in life and make do with what you have. In Mass the attitude is that everyone is equal its not the way the world is.

  2. I agree. Very important to look at the big picture and the level of abuse of the system and correct that.

    I do not believe hard work is the only part of the equation. There is bad luck, there are bad choices, there are mistakes. There are cultural, social, mental, and physical challenges. There are a lot of reasons to find yourself in a situation where you can be helped by there being affordable stock in the area you work and want to live.

    Yes, I do believe the low income should be mixed in the same developments with market rates. I do believe there are extreme benefits in helping those low income families be able to live close to where they work, live among others who can be a support, and learn to think further ahead about life in general.

    I was talking to someone recently about the poor in general and how the main goal in her case is to get them to think further into the future than the next 5 minutes. It's hard to do, when you don't know how you are going to get dinner on the table. How would it even enter your thought process about where you want to be 1 year or 2 years down the road. It's a huge challenge and is certainly not going to change if there is no affordable housing stock (what I believe is the first step and cheapest option for the taxpayers - certainly cheaper then 24/7 shelter) and/or we just give the poor options to live together with a bunch of others only thinking about how they are going to put dinner on the table.

    Vote No on Question 2.


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