It’s Election Day here in Massachusetts. Here’s a brief rundown of the gubernatorial candidates from the two major parties and the four ballot questions:
The 57-year-old Republican from Swampscott is a former state Secretary of Administration and Finance. He’s also credited with turning around Harvard Pilgrim Health Care as CEO. He ran for the state’s Corner Office in 2010, only to be beat by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Baker has said he will not raise taxes and he wants to increase the number of charter schools. Throughout the campaign, he has emphasized reforming parts of state government.
The 61-year-old Medford Democrat has been the state’s attorney general for the last seven years. Before that, she served as Middlesex District Attorney. In 2010, Scott Brown defeated her in a special U.S. Senate election.
Coakley supports boosting financial aid packages at community colleges, supports the sick time ballot initiative and wants every home and business in Massachusetts to undergo an energy audit in the next eight years.
Question 1 would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax be adjusted according to the percent change in the Consumer Price Index from the previous year.
Currently, if that index increases, the tax rate increases at the same rate. It would also eliminate a requirement in the law that the gasoline not dip below 21.5 cents per gallon. In September 2013, the rate was 24 cents per gallon of gasoline.
This question advocates for a 5-cent deposit for water bottles, juices and sports drinks. Similar to the existing deposit for soda and beer that currently exists, consumers would pay for the 5-cent deposit, then have the opportunity to return the bottles and receive the 5 cents back. Money generated by the program would benefit environmental programs in the state.
A yes vote favors implementing such a program, a no vote maintains status quo.
This question would prohibit casinos in Massachusetts. It would repeal the 2011 casino law.
Since that time, the state’s Gaming Commission has approved casino plans for Springfield and Everett and a slots parlor in Plainville.
A “yes” vote here would prohibit casinos, any gaming establishment with slot machines and wagering on simulcast greyhound races. A “no” vote would keep the casino law as it stands now.
This question wants to require almost all employers to provide up to a week paid sick and family leave per year to all employees, including those that are part-timers.
The law would affect employers who have more than 11 employees. It would allow employees to carry over up to 40 hours of sick time to the next calendar year. The employees, however, would not be able to use more than 40 hours.