The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 24, 2010

November 2 state ballot questions

Three ballot questions proposed by initiative petition will appear on the election ballot on November 2. The following information is from the office of Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin and is available online at: www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepip10/pip10idx.htm

Question 1: Repeal of Sales Tax on Alcoholic Beverages

This proposed law would remove the state sales tax on alcoholic beverages and alcohol, where the sale of such beverages and alcohol or their importation into the state is already subject to a separate excise tax under state law. The proposed law would take effect on January 1, 2011.

Question 2: Repeal of Chapter 40B - Comprehensive Permits for 
Low- or Moderate- Income Housing

This proposed law would repeal the existing state law that allows a qualified organization wishing to build government-subsidized housing that includes low- or moderate-income units to apply for a single comprehensive permit from a city or town’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA), instead of separate permits from each local agency or official having jurisdiction over any aspect of the proposed housing. The repeal would take effect on January 1, 2011, but would not stop or otherwise affect any proposed housing that had already received both a comprehensive permit and a building permit for at least one unit.

Under the existing law, the ZBA holds a public hearing on the application and considers the recommendations of local agencies and officials. The ZBA may grant a comprehensive permit that may include conditions or requirements concerning the height, site plan, size, shape, or building materials of the housing. Persons aggrieved by the ZBA’s decision to grant a permit may appeal it to a court. If the ZBA denies the permit or grants it with conditions or requirements that make the housing uneconomic to build or to operate, the applicant may appeal to the state Housing Appeals Committee (HAC).

The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.

A Yes vote would repeal the state law that allows the issuance of a single comprehensive permit to build housing that includes low- or moderate-income units.

A No vote would leave the law unchanged, and thus in force.

Question 3: Lower Sales and Use Tax Rates

This proposed law would reduce the state sales and use tax rates (which were 6.25% as of September 2009) to 3% as of January 1, 2011. The proposed law provides that if the 3% rates would not produce enough revenues to satisfy any lawful pledge of sales and use tax revenues in connection with any bond, note, or other contractual obligation, then the rates would instead be reduced to the lowest level allowed by law. ∆


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