Bumper Crop of Ballot Measures Could Signal Major Fiscal Policy Shifts, Report Finds

Oct 06, 2010, 16:49 ET from National Taxpayers Union

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Voters face many important decisions next month, but a large number of state and local ballot measures could have an especially profound impact on tax and spending policies. Because these contests are often drowned out by candidates on the campaign trail, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has published the 2010 General Election Ballot Guide: The Taxpayer's Perspective, which analyzes hundreds of ballot questions in over 30 states.

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"Sometimes the most influential entries on ballots aren't the names of candidates, but the names and numbers of measures," NTU State Government Affairs Manager John Stephenson said. "The Taxpayer's Perspective not only informs citizens about issues that could affect their states and communities, it also identifies trends that help to identify the national mood on fiscal policy. Those trends will live on long after the parties tally their wins and losses."  

NTU's Taxpayer's Perspective is not just a guide; it also provides evaluations of how these initiatives may grow the size of government or pinch pocketbooks. However, voters will also be presented with opportunities to exercise a greater degree of control over tax, spending, and regulatory powers. Examples include:

  • Washington State Initiative 1098 would impose a state-level income tax for the first time, beginning on incomes above $200,000 but later possibly extending to other groups at the Legislature's discretion.  
  • Proposition 23 on the California statewide ballot would suspend the California Global Warming Act and its mandates until unemployment eases. Taxpayer advocates in the state argue that this measure would prevent substantial hikes in energy costs on struggling consumers.
  • In a sign of opposition to the federal health care reform law, voters in three states – Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma – will decide on proposals affirming individuals' choices on purchasing insurance or participating in government plans.

The NTU report also digs deeply into local ballot measure contests, where – besides commonly proposed bond issues and property tax increases – several emerging themes were identified. These include term limits for local officeholders, tax hikes on telecommunications and tourism, and reforms to government worker compensation systems.

NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels.

SOURCE National Taxpayers Union