Billions of Dollars Directly in Voters’ Hands, Taxpayer Group’s 2014 Ballot Guide Reveals

(Alexandria, VA) - Today, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) released its 2014 Ballot Guide: The Taxpayer’s Perspective. NTU’s guide covers statewide and local propositions, initiatives, referenda, proposals and constitutional amendments from 32 states that will put tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on the line this Election Day.

Read NTU’s complete ballot guide HERE.

The hefty slate during these midterm elections is spearheaded by perennial ballot measure leaders like California, where voters will weigh in on adding over $7 billion in debt to the state’s ledger, and Ohio, which has over 1,600 measures on the docket.

There is plenty of action in other states as well, including major, potentially trend-setting, taxpayer protection proposals in Georgia (prohibiting increasing the income tax) and Tennessee (a constitutional ban on a broad-based income tax).

“This might be the busiest, most expensive, midterm in history, and citizens cannot afford to lose sight of the billions of dollars they have at stake through ballot initiatives,” said NTU State Affairs Manager Lee Schalk. “Through votes to protect taxpayers or simply avoid costly budget policy, this election could set an important trend for taxpayers in the laboratories of democracy going forward.”

Here are the highlights from NTU’s 2014 Ballot Guide:

California

  • In addition to Proposition 1, California’s $7.12 billion debt increase to fund water infrastructure projects, the Golden State ballot will include a measure to drastically increase the amount of money (from $250,000 to $1 million) patients can be awarded in medical tort cases. Voters will also decide whether to set aside 3 percent of revenues for a rainy day fund.
  • Michael Bloomberg’s soda tax crusade has selected Berkeley and San Francisco as its latest battleground and local voters will decide on Measure D – a 1 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks.
  • Fresno voters will have the option to renew a 10-year sales tax increase in order to upgrade the zoo (the city collected $102 million during the prior decade from the tax).

Illinois

  • Illinois is considering two advisory questions of note: a minimum wage increase, as well as a “Millionaire Tax” hike for citizens earning over $1 million per year of 3 percent.

Maine

  • Voters in Maine have $50 million worth of debt increases to decide on; including $8 million to “monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs” and $12 million to provide loans for certain businesses.

Massachusetts

  • Voters can limit the burden of a gas tax hike from last year by no longer indexing it to inflation.

Nevada

  • Question 3 would create significant new levy: a 2 percent margin tax on businesses to fund public schools. The tax would be assessed at two to four times the rate of the margin tax in Texas—the only other state with a statewide margin tax on business.
  • Question 2 would remove a 5 percent tax cap on mining operations, opening the door for tax hikes on energy.

New York

  • Despite the Empire State already being $387 billion in the red, New York’s Proposal 3 would add $2 billion in debt to update technology in public schools.

Washington

  • Initiative 1351 would increase school spending by an estimated $3.4 billion by 2019 by placing limits on school class size that would necessitate the hiring of thousands of new teachers and support staff.

Voters will also consider support for a recent bill preventing marijuana from qualifying for special agricultural product tax treatment, as well as repealing an excise tax on Indian properties.

View the entire Taxpayer’s Perspective report at http://www.ntu.org/governmentbytes/detail/2014-general-election-ballot-guide-the-taxpayers-perspective.