Sen. Chang-Díaz weighs in on ballot questions

Local state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz recently spoke with the Gazette about the four ballot questions that Jamaica Plain voters will help decide on Nov. 4, including her support for the ballot question to overturn the state casino law.

Question 3 is about repealing the state casino law, which Chang-Díaz voted against at the State House. She said that she will be voting yes to repeal the law because she does not want a “predatory industry” in the state.

Chang-Díaz said other states that have welcomed the casino industry with “open arms” have found that the promises that were made, such as the number of jobs created, don’t come to fruition. She said that casinos lead to the “cannibalization of local businesses.”

When asked about the prospect of casinos suing the state if it is repealed because of the money they’ve already spent, Chang-Díaz responded that issue of casinos will have “ramifications for decades to come” and that the possibility of a lawsuit should not be the determining factor.

The senator said she is a “strong no” for Question 1, which would eliminate the requirement that the state gas tax be adjusted annually to inflation. That money is currently being used to help fund transportation projects.

She said the cost of the repeal is one that communities can’t afford. Chang-Díaz noted that there is already a backload of basic transportation projects that needs to be funded and that other projects, such as proposed renovation at JP’s Arborway Yard, suffer because of a lack of funding.

“If we don’t have proper funding, it will be even longer,” she said.

Chang-Díaz said she is a yes vote on Question 2, which is about expanding the state’s beverage container deposit law to cover all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks with some exceptions. She said the largest beneficiaries of the law would be local towns and cities, as they wouldn’t have to spend as much money on litter clean-up and landfill fees.

“That’s money that could be spent on schools and infrastructure,” she said.

Lastly, Chang-Díaz said she was an “emphatic yes” on Question 4, which would entitle employees to earned sick time under certain conditions. She said that it is “common sense” and “basic fairness” that a person should be able to go to the doctor’s office when sick or take care of a child who has an illness.

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