The election has come and gone. And what a tumultuous election it was!
Historic numbers of Americans (over 47 percent of eligible voters) on November 6 made their voices heard on everything from ballot measures to hotly contested senate elections. This may not come as too much of a surprise, as the steep political divide drawn by Washington has invigorated voters of all ages and political affiliations.
Along with dozens of high-profile senate and gubernatorial races, as well as thousands of local races, Election Day also played host to countless ballot proposals. From getting rid of Daylight Savings Time to changing union rules, voters in many states weighed in on proposed laws small and large.
Of course, a number of tax measures also found their way to the ballot. Although U.S. voters have approved about half of all tax measures in the last 15 years, this year, they voted ‘no’ a lot more. This may be in part because of the election’s high turnout, or even because voters tend to say “nay” when they’re unsure. One common thread: Most rejected measures were tax increases.
Now that the people have spoken, we’re here to share some of what they said. Here are five of the biggest tax measures taxpayers voted down on Election Day.
Colorado is known as a relatively safe bastion for progressive policies, so it might come as a surprised that Coloradans struck down Amendment 73.
In short, the Establish Income Tax Brackets and Raise Taxes for Education Initiative would have changed Colorado’s flat 4.63% income tax rate to a bracketed system, raised taxes for folks earning over $150,000 a year, raised the corporate income tax rate, and established a new fund dedicated to public education.
Amendment 73 fell short of the 55 percent supermajority required to pass, so Colorado’s flat 4.63% rate will remain unchanged for now!
“Gas prices are too darn high,” may be the one statement all U.S. voters can agree on, so it’s not all too surprising Missouri voters opted to strike down Prop D.
The headlining piece of this legislation would have incrementally increased the gas tax by about 50% by June 2022, from 17 cents to 27 cents, dedicating all revenue to the state highway patrol. That’s a substantial increase, even if it may have only amounted to an extra dollar or so at each fill up. The bill also would have exempted Olympic-related prizes from state taxes and created a fund for certain road projects.
Proposition D failed, only garnering just over 46% of Missourians’ votes. We can’t blame them—gas prices are too darn high!
State governments often look to tax increases to curb consumer habits, from soda taxes to cigarette taxes. But putting the choice in voters’ hands, like with Measure 25, can yield different results.
Known as the South Dakota Tobacco Tax Increase Initiative, this measure was set to increase the tax on cigarettes by a dollar per pack of 20 cigarettes, from $1.53 to $2.53, and wholesale tobacco products by 20 percent (35 to 55 percent).
Dedicating a portion of this new revenue to technical institutes wasn’t enough for voters, about 55 percent of whom voted ‘no.’
Carbon taxes are one proposed method of keeping corporations accountable for their impact on the environment. But voters in Washington weren’t prepared to make Initiative 1631 the nation’s first carbon tax.
Had it passed, the Carbon Emissions Fee Measure would have enacted a carbon emissions fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon beginning in 2020 that increased by $2 every year until the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals were met. The revenue would have funded various environment-related programs.
Perhaps a similar carbon tax will pass in Washington another day, but for now, nearly 57 percent of voters are just fine without it.
Aside from headline-grabbing statewide races, one of the biggest outcomes from Nov. 6 was Floridians’ approval of Amendment 5—which restricts future taxes.
Amendment 5’s name is self-explanatory: The Two-Thirds Vote of Legislature to Increase Taxes or Fees Amendment. By voting ‘yes,’ the amendment would force the Florida State Legislature to require a two-thirds vote to enact any new taxes or increase current ones.
The amendment required a 60 percent supermajority to pass, which it easily accomplished with a 66 percent ‘yes’ vote—making future taxes harder to pass!
Of course, major tax measures could be found on ballots throughout the United States on Nov. 6, and many of them still did pass—even if the rate was lower than usual. If you’re ever unsure about what your state tax laws mean for you, we’re here to help.
Now that we’ve covered some of the highlights, we want to hear from you. Leave us a note in the comments. Which tax measures were on the ballot in your state? And what were the results?
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