National Taxpayers Union 2012 Ballot Guide: Analysis of State & Local Fiscal Ballot Initiatives Reveals Most Significant Slate Yet

(Alexandria, VA) - Today, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) released its 2012 Ballot Guide: The Taxpayer’s Perspective. NTU’s guide covers 750 propositions, initiatives, referenda, proposals and constitutional amendments from 35 states that will impact the nation’s taxpayers and fiscal policy.

America’s voters will consider substantial policy issues that will have significant impact on their futures: whether or not to raise taxes by billions in some cases, measures to create friendlier business environments, serious taxpayer protection statutes, and much more.

“Whether you are interested in major taxpayer protection provisions in states like New Hampshire and Michigan, or how much new debt your county is requesting, NTU’s Ballot Guide has the answers,” said NTU State Affairs Manager Lee Schalk. “This is an invaluable resource to concerned citizens, taxpayers, and all election watchers.”

Even down to a $35 per-person “Arts” tax in Oregon and property tax hike for a skate park in Michigan, The Taxpayer’s Perspective has the details – here are the highlights:

  • Sales tax increases are prompting contentious debate in Arizona, Arkansas, and South Dakota. Arizona will either prove, or perhaps disprove, the adage that there is nothing more permanent than a temporary tax when voters decide whether to keep a one billion dollar “temporary” sales tax hike from 2010.
  • Major tax hikes loom in California with two proposals: Gov. Brown’s Prop. 30 plan totals to an estimated $7 billion a year through a sales tax hike and income tax increase on “high-wage” earners. Activist Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 would outdo that, at a cost of $10 billion, thanks largely to a tax hike on everyone making more than $7,300.
  • Missouri will decide whether or not to raise their cigarette tax rate, currently lowest in the nation. The low rate helps Missouri attract sales from out-of-state, and revenue projections on cigarettes are notoriously shaky. An NTU study found 41 of 59 state tobacco tax increases did not live up to predictions and led to more tax hikes.
  • Taxpayer protections are on the ballot in Florida, Michigan and Washington, that would require a two-thirds legislative majority vote for most tax increases, or in some cases a vote of the people. Also, a full constitutional ban on an income tax will be considered in New Hampshire.
  • Property taxes have been rough on homeowners during this recession as the housing market collapsed. Arizona, Oklahoma, and Florida will all give their citizens the opportunity to cap the rate at which property taxes increase (5% per year for Arizona, and 3% for Oklahoma and Florida).
  • Tangible and intangible property tax reform will also be considered in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Florida. Arizona and Florida’s proposals would increase the exemption on tangible business items like furniture. Oklahoma would do away with notoriously difficult-to-enforce intangible property taxes on things like patents or brands.
  • Soda and so-called “junk food” taxes have become hot commodities for policy makers seeking revenue and influence on citizens’ lifestyles. This year Richmond and El Monte, CA will allow voters to decide on new soda taxes.

Schalk concluded, “As voters examine major candidates and races, they cannot afford to overlook the many ballot initiatives that will directly affect their pocketbooks.”

Each year, NTU compiles the most comprehensive guide available to state and local ballot measures affecting taxpayers across the nation. View the entire The Taxpayer’s Perspective report and more at