Massachusetts voters are being asked to decide on four ballot questions this November covering issues ranging from taxes to dental insurance, and the Globe is tracking who is funding the campaigns.
In Massachusetts, individuals can contribute unlimited amounts of money to committees running ballot question campaigns. The Globe has compiled data from the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance showing who has contributed sums over $1,000, including donations of goods and services, to each ballot question — both for and against. The data will be updated regularly between now and Election Day on Nov. 8.
Question 1, the so-called millionaires tax question, would levy an additional tax on income above $1 million. Specifically, the question asks voters whether they approve an additional 4 percent tax on annual taxable income in excess of $1 million, to be used for public education and transportation.
Opposition to this measure has attracted funding from several prominent names in Massachusetts business circles, including Robert Kraft’s Rand-Whitney Containerboard, Suffolk Construction, and New Balance chairman Jim Davis. Among the proponents of a yes vote are teachers unions and other labor groups.
Question 1 has generated the most cash among the four ballot questions by far: More than $30 million has been raised in the race as of Oct. 5.
Question 2 would enact a new regulation on dental insurance carriers, requiring them to ensure a specific ratio of customer premiums is spent on dental care for members and quality improvements, as opposed to the carrier’s administrative expenses. The question has pitted insurance companies against dentists, a clash that is reflected in the funding sources on each side.
A ballot question initiated by an organization of Massachusetts package stores would gradually increase the number of locations where a retailer can sell beer and wine, as well as make changes to laws governing alcohol sales in the state. Consumers would not be allowed to purchase alcohol in self-checkout lines at stores, but would be able to use out-of-state driver’s licenses to buy booze. Additionally, changes would be made to the formula used to determine fines for retailers who run afoul of state law.
As is apparent in the fund-raising totals below, the ballot question has drawn little organized opposition. Food Stores for Consumer Choice, the committee opposing the measure, has not reported any substantial donations.
Question 4 asks voters to weigh in on a law recently passed by the Massachusetts Legislature that allows undocumented residents to obtain state driver’s licenses. A “yes” vote would keep the law in place, while a “no” vote would repeal it. The campaign to keep the law in place has out-raised the opposition by more than nine-fold.
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