Government Bytes


Billions on the November 5 Ballot

by Lee Schalk / /

This week, NTU released its 2013 Ballot Guide: The Taxpayer’s Perspective. Our findings might surprise you.

As we all know, there’s no Presidential race this November, nor is there a regular round of Congressional elections. However, voters in Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington will decide on statewide ballot measures that will impact the nation’s fiscal policy. Additionally, many taxpayers will find local ballot measures when they head to the polls on November 5. Here are the highlights from our latest guide:

  • Major tax hikes are on the docket in Colorado: Amendment 66, the $1 billion income tax hike for education and Proposition AA, a pair of sales and excise taxes on marijuana, a product recently deemed legal by Coloradans.
  • Taxpayers in Telluride, Colorado will decide on a penny-per-ounce soda tax. Last November, two California cities that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama vetoed similar measures.
  • Maine and New York residents will decide on debt increases. Voters in Maine are being asked to increase state debt to fund everything from the Army National Guard and higher education to transportation and the Maritime Academy, while New York’s Proposal 3 would allow localities to keep exceeding debt limits.
  • In addition to the gubernatorial race, New Jersey taxpayers will find a 27 percent minimum wage increase on their ballots next week, from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour. SeaTac, Washington voters will decide on a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. Significant economic evidence that shows higher minimum wages can actually reduce overall employment.
  • Should Texas tap into its Rainy Day Fund to pay for local water projects? It will be up to Lone Star State taxpayers to decide, and the outcome will determine whether or not officials must rein in some of their spending plans.
  • Following the Detroit bankruptcy, pension reform became one of the hottest issues of 2013. Voters in Cincinnati, Ohio and Hialeah, Florida will face questions regarding a transition to defined contribution plans for new city employees and the elimination of newly elected officials’ pension payments, respectively.
  • Washingtonians have a chance to strengthen their own initiative and referendum process by allowing more time for signature collection and imposing penalties for those who interfere.

State and local measures can have major implications not just for the citizens deciding them but for taxpayers nationwide. Whether it’s the massive Colorado Amendment 66 tax hike, significant debt increases in Maine, or an attempt to bolster the initiative and referendum process in Washington, voters in many parts of the country will encounter some eye-opening that could impact their wallets for years to come.

Stayed tuned to for our post-election ballot measures analysis.