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Midterm Ballot Initiatives Matter, Too

October 24, 2018 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

We are now less than two weeks away from what promise to be
enormously consequential midterm elections. Most of the attention
so far has understandably been focused on the battle for control of
Congress. That contest, according to current polls, is likely to
end up in something of a draw, with Democrats taking control of the
House while Republicans pick up a couple of seats in the Senate.
There will also be important down-ballot races, with Democrats
expected to pick up several governorships and make limited gains in
state legislatures.

Often overlooked, however, will be several important ballot
measures that could have a far more direct impact on people’s lives
than the high-profile races that receive all the news coverage.

For instance, despite President Trump’s bizarre assertion that
Congress will pass a middle-class tax cut in the next two weeks,
congressional action on taxes is not happening any time soon. But
in six states, voters will have the opportunity to cap, limit, or
restrict taxes.

While the world’s
attention is understandably fixed on the fight for Congress,
Election Day will also see hundreds of consequential measures put
before voters.

Arizona voters will consider whether to prohibit new or
increased taxes on real-estate transactions, banking, investment
management, health care, and other services.

In Florida, voters will vote on two anti-tax measures. The first
would make permanent a 10 percent cap on property taxes that is
currently set to expire next year. The second would require a
two-thirds supermajority in both chambers of the legislature to
raise taxes.

Oregon voters will also have the chance to impose a
supermajority requirement for new taxes, in this case, three-fifths
rather than two-thirds. What’s more, Oregonians will vote on
whether to prohibit both state and local governments from taxing
groceries. A similar ban on grocery taxes (applying to just local
governments) will also be on the ballot in Washington.

In North Carolina, voters will decide whether to cut the top
state-income-tax rate from 10 to 7 percent. Even in the liberal
bastion of California, voters will choose whether to require public
approval of any future increase in gas taxes or vehicle fees.

It won’t just be taxes on the ballot, of course. Four states
will decide whether to join the growing movement for marijuana
legalization. North Dakota and Michigan could become the tenth and
eleventh states to legalize recreational marijuana, while Missouri
and Utah may legalize medical marijuana. Meanwhile, Ohio will
consider a far-reaching criminal-justice-reform measure that would
reduce drug-possession offenses to misdemeanors, limit
incarceration for non-criminal probation violations, and encourage
inmates to participate in rehabilitative care, work, or educational
programs. Savings from reduced incarceration rates would …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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