A 5-2 decision (Justice Lenk concurring and Justices Budd and Gants dissenting).
From the majority opinion:
“We conclude that the initiative petition should not have been certified by the Attorney General as ‘in proper form for submission to the people,’ because, contrary to the certification, the petition does not contain only subjects ‘which are related or which are mutually dependent….
“It is immediately apparent…that the three provisions are not mutually dependent. As discussed, petitions seeking to impose a graduated tax rate or a tax on specific high-income earners previously have been presented to the voters of the Commonwealth as stand-alone initiatives. It is also evident that funds for ‘quality public education’ and ‘affordable public colleges and universities’ could be raised and provided to educational institutions separately from any expenditures on transportation, and that raising funds for ‘repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation’ could proceed without any expenditures on education, at any grade level.
“Although she certified the subjects as sufficiently related, the Attorney General has not articulated a common purpose between these spending priorities, beyond the abstract determination that both purposes are ‘broad areas of public concern.’ The interveners [advocating for the question to be on the ballot], for their part, assert that prioritizing spending for education and transportation will ‘strengthen the Massachusetts economy and set a foundation for inclusive growth.’ Some of the amici characterize the petition as intended “for economic advancement and social mobility” of specific groups within the Commonwealth. The difficulty the proponents have in stating the purported purpose of the initiative petition is itself telling.”
The opinion is here.