2010 News

GET THE FACTS!

09.15.2010

What are the facts about Question 3 — the ballot question that would cut the Massachusetts sales tax by more than half?

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
September 2010 Edition

By Riley Ohlson
Associate Director, Legislative & Governmental Affairs

Question 3, which will appear on the ballot this November, would cut the state sales tax from 6.25 to 3 percent, resulting in a loss of $2.5 billion to the state budget. Last month we debunked myths about the impact of Question 3, which would harm local services in our communities. This month we look at how this drastic measure would specifically affect MNA bargaining units and our patients.

MYTH: This question doesn’t directly affect me or my fellow MNA members. Why would the MNA even take a position on this question?

The Facts: Because state funding impacts every single one of our bargaining units! Teaching and community hospitals receive direct state aid, and many of the patients we see are only able to afford health care because of state subsidies and programs. Already, cuts in the state budget have impacted our bargaining units adversely:

  • Quincy Hospital has cut RN salaries and benefits, as well as staffing. Quincy has always received direct aid from the commonwealth because it is a high-quality, low-cost provider, but this year it will get 50 percent less aid due to inadequate revenues. A $2.5 billion tax cut would likely eliminate all aid to community hospitals like Quincy, forcing many of them to close.
  • North Adams Hospital, another community hospital that relies heavily on state support and where MNA members face an attempt by management to gut their contract, could face a similar fate.
  • Registered nurses and health care professionals who work for the commonwealth have already seen devastating cuts in services that have adversely impacted the quality of patient care and hit MNA members with layoffs, furloughs, huge health insurance hikes and attempts to close state facilities that serve vulnerable patients.
  • Cuts in state aid to safety net hospitals are having a devastating impact on safety net providers:
    • Somerville Hospital has seen all inpatient services eliminated. Addictions services are no longer offered anywhere at the Cambridge Health Alliance.
    • Cambridge Hospital saw its in-patient pediatric unit close.
    • Boston Medical Center is closing the BU campus’ emergency department and implementing 21 layoffs.

Your fellow registered nurses on the MNA’s Board of Directors have voted to oppose Question 3 and they strongly urge you and your family to vote NO on this question in November.

FPO