Question 1: Gas Tax Indexing: YES
The state legislature passed a law last year that ties the state gas tax to the inflation index. In other words, if overall prices go up by 1% next year, the state will add more to the gas tax automatically without a vote so that you pay more per gallon. The tax will never go down.
A Yes Vote: Future increases in the gas tax would have to be voted on explicitly by the state and be on the record. There is no guarantee that money from the gas tax would go to the correct place, to fix roads and bridges anyway.
A No Vote: No change in the law. There are many roads and bridges in the state that need fixing and this will make more money potentially available for it.
Recommendation: There really should be no such thing as an automatic tax increase given the history of overspending and ever changing priorities. A YES vote is recommended.
Question 2: Expand the Beverage Container Deposit Law: NO
When you buy a soda can or bottle in Massachusetts currently, five cents of the price you pay goes towards a refundable recycling deposit. If you bring the bottle back to the store, you can deposit it in a machine and get a coupon for the amount that you can use at the store. This new proposal would add a deposit on every beverage including juice bottles. The deposit would increase with inflation just like question 1. The idea here is to have more money available for environmental work and cleanup and motivate people to return more containers to the store.
A Yes Vote: More containers would be covered by recycling deposits that would only go up. More money would be available potentially for environmental cleanup and waste processing.
A No Vote: No change in current law.
Recommendation: Recycling is available almost everywhere nowadays and you should not be forced to take a bag of your containers to the store and wait for a machine that may or may not accept them. Fees should not go up automatically, just like question one. A NO vote is recommended.
Question 3: Repeal the Casino Law: YES
There's a law on the books in Massachusetts, passed last year that allows multiple casinos to be built in the state and expanded gambling.
A Yes Vote: Would repeal the casino law and ban casinos from being built in Massachusetts.
A No Vote: Would not change anything. Currently a casino is scheduled to be built in Everett and in Springfield.
Recommendation: Allah tells us in the Qur'an that gambling has benefits and has harm, but that the harm far outweighs the benefit(Al Baqarah 2:219). We don't deny that casinos can bring extra jobs and money into the state, but they also bring addiction, crime, traffic, and appeal to the baser instincts of people. Allah would not prohibit something without a good reason. As Muslims, we should vote YES so that we can forbid what is evil.
Question 4: Allow employees to earn and use sick time under certain conditions: YES
A Yes Vote: Will allow workers in MA to earn up to a week per year to take care of their own or a family member's health. Time earned is relative to time worked and starts after 90 days.
A No Vote: No changes to existing laws.
Recommendation: This is a reasonable rule to try and implement, but the problem with it is the complete lack of flexibility, since one size doesn't really fit all when it comes to business and the workplace. On the other hand, being able to stay home and get better without fearing for your job should make for a much healthier workplace and increased productivity. A YES vote is recommended.
When's the election? Tuesday November 4th.
Where do I vote? Call the Secretary of the Commonwealth at 1-800-462-8683.
Is it Haram to vote? Please ask your local Imam or a person of knowledge. However, please remember this process happens with us or without us. Our tax dollars are involved and the least we can do is try and influence what is done with them.
Do I need to read/write English? No, you have the right to vote whether or not you can read or write English.