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Massachusetts voters narrowly approved ballot questions that will substantially raise taxes on millionaires and legalize driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants in the midterm elections on Tuesday.
Residents voted 52 percent to 48 to approve Ballot Question One, which will amend the state constitution to raise income taxes by 4 percent on annual incomes above $1 million. The tax will apply to 0.6 percent of households in the state, according to the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University, and it is expected to raise about $1.3 billion in state revenue in 2023.
Jeron Mariani, who managed the Fair Share for Massachusetts campaign — a coalition including dozens of labor unions and advocacy groups — wrote in a statement that the vote was a “once-in-a-generation opportunity that was years in the making.”
“Our coalition will stick together to ensure that the money from Question 1 reaches our public school classrooms and college campuses, and our roads, bridges, and transit systems,” Mariani wrote. “We’ll keep working to build a Massachusetts economy that works well for everyone, not just those at the top.”
The Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment wrote it was “disappointed” by the passage of Ballot Question One, calling it a “setback for the Massachusetts economy.”
“There is no guarantee that this ill-conceived amendment will increase spending for either education nor transportation. It will, however, severely impact retirees, homeowners, and hardworking residents across the state,” the Coalition wrote. “This amendment will hurt small businesses as they struggle with inflation, supply chain issues, and work to rebuild from the negative impacts of the pandemic.”
Voters also approved Ballot Question Four 54 percent to 46, ratifying a law passed by the state legislature in May allowing Massachusetts residents who cannot prove legal residency to get driver’s licenses. The result comes as a victory for advocates who have pushed for years to pass the law.
The group Safer Roads Massachusetts, which campaigned in favor of the ballot question, wrote in a tweet that the victory meant “safer roads and increased mobility access for everyone in our state, regardless of status.”
Voters resoundingly approved Ballot Question Two, in a 71 percent to 29 vote, which will force dental insurance providers to allocate at least 83 percent of premiums toward patient care. It brings regulations on dental insurance providers in line with other health care insurers, which are obliged to spend between 85 and 88 percent of their premiums on patients per Massachusetts law.
In a statement to supporters Tuesday night, American Dental Association president George R. Shepley said the vote “set the stage for the rest of the country.”
“You all are just setting a shining example of where we can go in our future endeavors in dental insurance reform and what we can do to help our patients,” Shepley said.
Voters rejected Ballot Question Three, which would have overhauled the state’s alcohol licensing rules, 55 percent to 45 percent.
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