With interest groups pouring millions of dollars into the campaigns for and against the Massachusetts ballot questions, it can be hard to tell what information to trust. That’s why the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University — a nonpartisan research group — took up the task of evaluating claims from both sides on each of the four questions. He joined Adam Reilly on GBH News’ Talking Politics to share what he found on ballot questions 1 and 2.

Ballot Question 1 would change the state constitution and create a 4% additional tax on all personal income earned above the $1 million mark. If someone earns $1 million or less, they would not be subject to the additional tax. It’s a measure sometimes known as the “millionaires tax” or the “Fair Share Amendment.”

The money from the tax increase would be used for education and transportation, subject to appropriation by the state Legislature. Opponents have said there’s no guarantee the money will actually go toward schools and transit.

Horowitz affirmed: there’s no legal requirement or guarantee that the Legislature will use the money for education and transportation.

“However, they’re likely to do it anyway,” he said. “And the reason they’re likely to do it anyway is because these are high-priority areas. People want to spend money on education, on transit.”

Horowitz said his center found it’s also likely some, but not many, wealthy people will leave the state due to the increased taxes. The bigger concern, though, is that high earners could hide their money to avoid coughing up the extra 4%.

“If nobody changes behavior — if we implement this tax, everybody goes on living their life exactly the way they were before, the tax would raise something like $2.1 billion,” he said. “But, if they make the changes that we’ve seen in other states, some people move — not too many, but some — and lots of people try to hide their money or avoid taxes in other ways, then you end up raising about $1.3 billion.”

Massachusetts’ Ballot Question 2 would introduce new regulations on dental insurance companies, including a legal requirement that insurers spend a minimum of 83% of premiums on patient care rather than on administrative expenses. There is not currently a minimum.

“Ballot questions come in a couple different types. Some of them are really technical, and this is one of those,” Horowitz said. “I mean, do voters know if 83% is the ‘right’ number for a dental loss ratio? I mean, I’m saying this the most technical way I can say it, but that’s really what the ballot question is about.”

Horowitz said it's “totally implausible” that insurance rates will increase significantly for patients if the measure is passed.

What’s not clear, he said, is how close insurers are to the yet-to-be-decided 83% rule. Some insurers who are currently spending far less on patient care could fold and reduce consumer choice — but, Horowitz said, “We don’t think that’s very likely.”

Horowitz will join Talking Politics again on Friday, Oct. 29, to discuss Ballot Questions 3 and 4.

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