Saturday, 2:15 PM
Proposals to abolish state income tax, decriminalize marijuana, clear another hurdle
By Globe Staff
A proposal to make major changes to a controversial state law intended to promote affordable housing has failed to garner enough signatures to make it onto the November 2008 ballot.
But the secretary of state's office says that proposals to repeal the state income tax, ban greyhound racing, and decriminalize the use of marijuana are still on track.
Proponents of the measures had until Nov. 21 to gather at least 66,593 certified signatures on petitions. After certification by local officials, the petitions had to be submitted to the secretary of state's office by Dec. 5 for another review.
The secretary of state's office has found that the proposal to change the Chapter 40B affordable housing law had fallen far short of its goal, garnering only about 30,000 signatures, said secretary of state's spokesman Brian McNiff.
John Belskis, chairman of the Coalition to Repeal 40B, said his group wanted to change provisions of the law that, in some cases, allow developers offering affordable housing to avoid local zoning requirements.
"We just resent the developer that comes in and walks all over the town's laws and bylaws," he said.
He vowed that his group would be back again.
"Absolutely," he said. "We ain't going away. It's a failed law. It's not producing affordable housing."
As for the surviving proposals, the Legislature has until the first Wednesday in May to make them law. If lawmakers do not act, proponents have to gather another 11,099 signatures by June 18 to get their proposals on the ballot.
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