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Massachusetts special election: What will the candidates mean to your wallet?

Let's face it, no one votes for the candidate they think will cost them the most money in the long run. So where do the candidates for the Massachusetts special senate election stand on issues that will affect your family income? The voter's guide pictured above was compiled by the Massachusetts Family Institute to show voters where the candidates stand on 10 issues. (click on the link above to see a more readable version)

The most obvious difference between the Republican and Democratic candidates is in their opposition to, or support of, the Presidents Health Care Plan. Coakley supporters are passionate about the need to reform the current health care system, while Brown supporters don't necessarily disagree, they just want to know how it is going to be paid for. "It's the bill itself I don't like, not the fact that there shouldn't be universal health care," comments Andrew T, an independent voter from Medfield.

Another cost to the health care plan, pointed out by Dale S. of Quincy, could be loss of jobs due to the taxes imposed on businesses to pay for the system. Dale, who works for a local company that develops and manufactures medical and dairy  testing equipment, points out that the new taxes proposed on companies in the medical industry will make it cheaper to manufacture their products at plants outside the country. "As a result, he notes, "engineering and manufacturing positions will most likely have to be cut."

Other issues covered in the voter's guide that you might want to consider are contained in questions 5 through 7. If you or someone you know works in the health care field, Question 5 will be of interest to you. It affects the rights of health care workers to be conscientious objectors. The Democrats have traditionally been sympathetic to conscientious objectors when it comes to the subject of war. However, on the issue of health care workers refusing to participate in the taking of human life, whether it be through abortion or potentially, through legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide, it is the Republican candidate who is promising to protect their rights and their jobs. "As I see it," notes Marie S., another  independent voter from Medfield, "nobody is going to go without care. The patient can get what they want from any other doctor or nurse they choose to, but a health care worker might have no choice. They will either be forced to participate or be fired, and that will make them virtually unemployable in their field."

Question 6 pertains to the right of a state to acquire property by eminent domain. This has traditionally been reserved for municipal projects that greatly benefit the tax payers of a city or town, such as new roads, utilities or public buildings. More recently, however, state governments have been able to forcibly acquire private property for business development. This means that a state can displace small business owners and their employees in favor of big retailers like Target or Home Depot.

Finally, question #7 pertains to the repeal of the federal estate tax. Democrats cite the benefits of taxing the super-wealthy as they pass on property and businesses to their heirs. Republicans point out that it is not just the Rockefellers of the country who pay the tax; it also affects small business owners trying to pass on family companies and farms to their children. Not even the exclusions the IRS provides these family-owned business can make up enough to pay the taxes on a business that is already struggling. Dale S. points to the Massachusetts dairy industry as an example:
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"Dairy farmers are struggling to remain in business, having to pay more to produce their product than the Federal government allows processors to pay for it. Many farms are closing down altogether. The number of dairy farms in Massachusetts dropped from 829 in 1980 to 189 in 2007, according to the Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers." (
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http://pressroom.nofamass.org/node/23619-)


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 So whether you count yourself as a business owner, employee, or citizen, something about this election will most likely have an impact on your finances -so get out and vote!

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