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State Tax-Related Ballot Initiative Results

4 min readBy: Joseph Bishop-Henchman

All results are unofficial and subject to change.

Raising and Repealing Taxes and Non-TaxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. Taxes

  • Arkansas‘s Constitutional Amendment 3, which would establish a state lottery (Arkansas is one of eight states without a lottery), passed 63%-36%.
  • California had a number of county and regional sales taxA sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding. increases and extensions for transportation, each of which required a two-thirds vote to pass: Los Angeles Proposition R (passed, 67%-32%); Marin & Sonoma Counties (SMART) (passed 69%-31%); Santa Clara Measure B (BART) (too close to call, 66.27%-33.73%).
  • Colorado‘s Amendment 51, which would increased the state sales tax from 2.9% to 3.1% for developmentally disabled care programs, failed 37%-63%.
  • Colorado‘s Amendment 58, which would increase severance taxes on oil and gas companies, failed 41%-59%.
  • Maine‘s Question 1 would repeal a new (April 2008) tax on liquor, wine, and soft drinks to funnel more money into the state’s health care program. The repeal passed 63%-37%.
  • Maryland‘s Question 2 would authorize the state to provide video lottery terminals (slot machines), with the money funneled into education programs. The measure passed 58%-42%.
  • Massachusetts‘s Question 1, which would have reduced the state income tax in 2009 and repealed it completely beginning in 2010, failed 31%-69%.
  • Minnesota‘s initiative raising the sales tax by 0.375% to 6.875% for wildlife habitat preservation, water improvements, parks and trails, and arts and culture programs, passed 56%-44%.
  • Missouri‘s Proposition A raising the gambling tax, barring new casinos in competition with old ones, and removes a cap on the amount that gamblers can bet, with the money raised used for early childhood programs, passed 56%-43%.
  • Montana‘s Referendum 118 extending for ten years a state property taxA property tax is primarily levied on immovable property like land and buildings, as well as on tangible personal property that is movable, like vehicles and equipment. Property taxes are the single largest source of state and local revenue in the U.S. and help fund schools, roads, police, and other services. for higher education, passed 56%-44%.
  • New Mexico – Santa Fe voters approved a one-eighth increase in their sales tax (to 8.0625%) for transit projects, 55%-45%.
  • North Carolina – Durham County’s meals tax for civic buildings and tourist marketing failed 28%-72%.
  • North Dakota‘s Measure 1, which would set up a permanent fund for oil and gas taxA gas tax is commonly used to describe the variety of taxes levied on gasoline at both the federal and state levels, to provide funds for highway repair and maintenance, as well as for other government infrastructure projects. These taxes are levied in a few ways, including per-gallon excise taxes, excise taxes imposed on wholesalers, and general sales taxes that apply to the purchase of gasoline. revenue, failed 35%-64%.
  • North Dakota‘s Measure 2, which would cut the state personal income tax and corporate income taxA corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax. , failed 30%-70%.
  • Virginia had a number of meals taxes on county ballots. It passed in one county (King William, 50%-50%), results are not available in one county (Culpeper), and it failed in the others (Bath, 42%-58%; Fauquier, 30%-69%; Loudoun, 30%-70%; Rockingham, 47%-53%; Smyth, 28%-72%).

Mixed Bag for Taxpayer Protection Initiatives

  • Arizona‘s Proposition 105 would require tax- and fee-raising measure to pass with a majority of registered voters, not just a majority of votes cast. The measure failed 34%-66%.
  • Arkansas‘s Constitutional Amendment 2, which would shift the state from two-year budgets to annual budgets, passed 69%-30%.
  • Colorado‘s Amendment 59, which would effectively repeal TABOR spending limits, failed 45%-55%.
  • Nevada‘s Question 3 would require that the legislature conduct a cost/benefit analysis of any proposed exemption from the state property or sales taxes, and include a sunset date for each exemption. It passed 60%-40%.
  • Nevada‘s Question 4 would allow the legislature to alter the state sales tax without voter approval, for the purpose of making the state code uniform with the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP). The measure failed 27%-73%.
  • New Jersey‘s Public Question 1 would require bonds issued by autonomous government authorities (and not just those issued by the state itself) to be approved by voters. It passed 57%-43%.
  • Oregon‘s Measure 56 would eliminate the requirement that a popular vote to increase property taxes must occur either in a November general election or in an election where at least a majority of registered voters vote. It passed 55%-45%.

State Constitution Overhauls Not Popular This Year

  • Connecticut‘s Question 1 constitutional convention proposal failed 41%-59%.
  • Hawaii‘s Constitutional Convention proposal failed 33%-62%.
  • Illinois‘s Constitutional Convention proposal failed 32%-68%.


  • Florida‘s Amendment 3 would exclude hurricane improvements and renewable energy devices from property tax reassessments. It passed 60%-40%.
  • Florida‘s Amendment 4 would allow the legislature to create a new property tax category for land being held for conservation purposes. It passed 68%-31%.
  • Florida‘s Amendment 5 would allow the legislature to create a new property tax category for waterfront areas open to the public. It passed 70%-30%.
  • Louisiana‘s Proposed Amendment 5 would allow property owners to transfer the assessment from old property to new property if the old property was expropriated by the federal government and under certain conditions. The vote totals remain too close to call, roughly tied 50%-50%.
  • Oklahoma‘s Question No. 735, which would create a property tax exemptionA tax exemption excludes certain income, revenue, or even taxpayers from tax altogether. For example, nonprofits that fulfill certain requirements are granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), preventing them from having to pay income tax. for heads of households who were permanently disabled as a result of injuries sustained during military service, passed 85%-15%.
  • Oregon‘s Measure 59 would allow residents to deduct fully their federal income taxes from their state income taxes. It failed 38%-61%.