(Alexandria, VA) - Today, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) released its 2013 Ballot Guide: The Taxpayer’s Perspective. NTU’s guide covers statewide and local propositions, initiatives, referenda, proposals and constitutional amendments from 14 states that will impact taxpayers and fiscal policy.
Despite the lack of a Presidential race or regular round of Congressional elections this November, many voters will consider substantial issues affecting their pocketbooks: a billion-dollar income tax hike, measures to reform broken pension systems, minimum wage increases and more.
“State and local measures can have major implications not just for the citizens deciding them but for taxpayers nationwide,” said NTU State Affairs Manager Lee Schalk. “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, our ballot guide analyzes the fiscal matters that could be trend-makers or trend-breakers for 2014.”
The guide covers all statewide as well as a selection of significant local measures pertaining to taxpayers – Here are the highlights:
- 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.
Schalk concluded, “When it comes to taxes, spending, debt, and regulations affecting the economy, an ‘off-year’ election is not necessarily a sleepy election. Voters in many parts of the country will encounter some eye-opening that could impact their wallets for years to come.”
Each year, NTU compiles the most comprehensive guide available to state and local ballot measures affecting taxpayers across the nation. View the entire Taxpayer’s Perspective report and more at ntu.org/ballotguide.