Massachusetts Voters to Consider Tax Cut, Minimium Wage Increase

Attorney General Maura Healey has greenlighted 21 initiative petitions -- including calls for a $15 minimum wage and lowering the sales tax -- moving the proposals closer to appearing on the ballot in 2018.

Healey yesterday released a list of initiative petitions that met constitutional requirements and were certified to move ahead in the ballot question process.

But seven of the 28 petitions filed, including proposals to end highway tolls in Massachusetts, were not certified because they did not meet requirements, Healey's office said.

Some of the certified petitions tackle clean energy, political spending and paid family and medical leave.

The decisions lay the groundwork for 2018 ballot showdowns between progressive groups that back a higher minimum wage, family and medical leave, and an income tax increase for high earners, against business groups that have been critical of the high cost of doing business in Massachusetts.

The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition, which is behind the $15 minimum wage and paid leave petitions, has already secured a spot on the 2018 ballot for a question asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would impose a surtax on incomes over $1 million.

Four different versions of questions, backed by retailers, to lower the state's 6.25 percent sales tax were all certified, including two that would establish an annual sales tax holiday.

Healey did not certify a proposed constitutional amendment declaring corporations are not people and that the Legislature can limit political spending and contributions, finding it was inconsistent with constitutional rights.

Backers of certified petitions have until Dec. 6 to gather and submit the signatures of 64,750 registered voters.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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