As Politico’s Laura Dezenski observes in today’s Playbook, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl has promised to collect signatures for a ballot question to lower the state sales tax to five percent, a move apparently calculated to elevate his candidacy by tying it to a cause he believes will be very popular.
In choosing the sales tax reduction, Diehl seems to have passed up the opportunity to align himself with another ballot question — and one that’s close to his own legislative agenda. That ballot question would amend the state constitution to allow Massachusetts to exclude abortion services from state-funded health care. (A 1981 Supreme Judicial Court decision ruled that the state cannot provide funding for childbirth services if it does not also provide funding for abortion services.)
For the past four legislative sessions, Representative Diehl has been the lead sponsor of a bill to let individual taxpayers exclude their tax payments from being used by the state to pay for abortion services. If passed, the bill would accomplish on a case-by-case basis what the ballot question could accomplish systemically.
So why has Diehl not hitched his campaign wagon to that star too? Maybe his polling is showing that opposition to abortion is not a winning issue against his GOP primary opponents (not to mention his general election opponent). We may learn more about his strategy when the Joint Committee on Revenue holds a hearing on his abortion funding bill. No hearing date yet — stay tuned.