For John, BLUF: Dishonest Presentation of Ballot Question 1. Nothing to see here; just move along.
In yesterday's edition of The Boston Globe was a letter by Ms Katherine S. Fichter, of Somerville. I have no quarrel with her points on Ballot Initiatives 2, 3 and 4, but I think she COMPLETELY MISSES THE POINT about Ballot Initiative 1.
Ms Fichter starts her second paragraph as follows:
Question 1 asks whether we are willing to pay our fair share for safe and modern transportation infrastructure.This is a TOTAL MISUNDERSTANDING of the Ballot Question. Here is the Massachusetts Secretary of State's presentation of the Ballot Question:
A YES VOTE would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.There it is. Not to roll back the tax increase but to prevent turning additional increases over to a bureaucracy to determine based upon the inflation rate. Following is the straight forward statement of the YES vote.
IN FAVOR: Voting yes simply stops the linkage of the gas tax to inflation. This linkage causes the tax to increase every year without a vote of the Legislature. That’s taxation without representation. If the Legislature wants to increase taxes, they should have to vote for it. No tax should automatically increase.The opposed wording is disingenuous to say the least:
AGAINST: Question One threatens the safety of you and your family when traveling on Massachusetts’ roads and bridges. The problems are startling: according to the Federal Highway Administration, 53% of all bridges in the state are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Moreover, 27 bridges have been closed because they are unsafe. Potholes and bad roads cost Massachusetts residents $2.3 billion a year in car repairs.I am voting for this question, and I am not against fixing our highways. In fact, I think we need to be investing billions in fixing our highway situation. We don't need to just fix the bridges and potholes, but we also need to improve our existing highways. For example, Route 38 in most other states would be two or more lanes in each direction, with sidewalks and left turn cutouts. But, I believe the monies must be voted explicitly by the General Court and not handed over to bureaucrats to do, based upon this or that formula.
Further, it is time to stop making the excuse that our roads are the product of four hundred year old cow paths and thus can not be changed.
Regards — Cliff