The following letter was submitted by the Westford Republican Town Committee. To submit your own letter, e-mail the editor at [email protected]
YES on Question 1 – Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing
The WRTC unanimously supports a YES vote on Question 1 to eliminate the requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index. It is important that the legislature vote tax increases to ensure accountability. Gasoline tax revenue goes toward mass transportation in addition to road and bridge repair and maintenance. Both the Commuter Rail and MBTA have management and spending problems. Only the General Court has the authority to demand accountability and direct spending for such purposes. There is no guarantee additional revenue will be used for road and bridge infrastructure rather than as a band-aid for a mismanaged public transportation system.
NO on Question 2 – Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law
The WRTC unanimously supports a NO vote on Question 2 which will keep the current Bottle Bill and make no further changes. Expanding bottle deposits to non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverages cannot concurrently reduce litter and generate revenue for the Commonwealth. If bottle litter is reduced, then revenue will be as well since more bottles will be returned for deposit. The unintended consequence is that municipal curbside recycling costs will increase as more lucrative scrap is removed from the solid waste stream making it uneconomical for recycling businesses to provide service without supplemental income from the taxpayer.
NO on Question 4 – Earned Sick Time for Employees
The WRTC unanimously supports a NO vote on Question 4 which will keep the existing laws regarding earned sick time. Question 4 mandates that businesses with 10 or more employees provide 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Businesses of 10 or fewer employees are required to provide 40 hours per year of unpaid sick leave. Changes in the earned sick time laws are needed to protect employees from job loss in cases of family illness or domestic violence, however the proposed changes go too far. Question 4 applies to private and public employees. Question 4 applies to full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. The proposed initiative has the potential to kill jobs and raise taxes, as employers reduce staff to fall below the threshold for paid sick time and municipalities are mandated to pay part-time and seasonal employees for sick-time absences.