Saturday, November 01, 2008

So many questions... (on the ballot)

Here in Amherst we'll get to vote on six different ballot questions. The conversation at my son's soccer game went something like:
Dogs are number 3, I think-- does voting for it mean you're FOR or AGAINST the dogs?

Is marijuana question 2?
For the record, I'm going to vote No, Yes, No, No, No, and No. But I don't really feel very strongly about questions 3 through 6.

I'm going to vote No on question 1, because it would cause a lot of short-term chaos and pain to completely eliminate the state income tax. And I'd rather phase out regressive taxes like the sales tax first. I predict most people will agree with me and vote no.

I'm going to vote Yes on question 2, because I don't think it makes sense to throw people in jail for using marijuana. As long as you don't hurt anybody else, I think you should be free to do whatever you like to your own body (just don't come crying to me if you do something stupid). I have no idea how this will turn out; I've been surprised in the past at how much Puritanism there is left in various parts of this state.

Question 3 is to prohibit greyhound racing. I'm going to vote no, but it's a weak no-- I don't really care if there's greyhound racing in Massachusetts or not, and if we wait a while, it looks like greyhound racing will die a natural death. If dogs are being mistreated or abused, then it seems to me we need to strengthen our animal welfare laws. But I predict the combination of people who don't like gambling and people who like cute dogs will be enough to get this one passed.

Question 4 is to double the CPA surcharge here in Amherst. If it passes, my family will pay something like $50 or $100 more per year in property taxes-- not a big deal. I don't really feel strongly one way or the other, but I'm swayed by the argument that passing this may make it less likely that voters will agree to an override in the future.

Question 5 is about single-payer health insurance. I agree that our health care system is screwed up and needs some major fixing, but relying on government bureaucrats to decide what health care we all get for "free" seems like a really bad idea to me. I think the medical and drug company lobbyists are already too powerful; give them a single place to focus their efforts and they'll get even more powerful.

And question 6 asks the legislature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in the next 12 years and promote local businesses doing green stuff. Umm, yeah:
More than half the energy-related emissions come from large sources such as power plants and factories, while about a third comes from transportation.
So if we close all our power plants and factories, and then drive one-tenth as much as we do now we'll reduce our greenhous gas emissions by 80%. I'm gonna vote no, because I don't believe in wishing for ponies.


Anonymous said...

But Daddy, I want a pony. Pleeeeease!

Gavin Andresen said...


But I predict a majority of Amherst voters will disagree with me.