2021 Statewide Ballot Measures: Overview of Fiscal Proposals

10/29/2021

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By Leo Garcia | October 29, 2021 | NCSL Fiscal Briefs

It’s time again for voters to decide on an array of statewide ballot measures. This November, voters in Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington, and Louisiana will consider ballot measures addressing a range of issues. Even though this election occurs in a political off-year, and with a more limited number of proposals, several measures have significant fiscal impacts. Of the 28 total state ballot measures being put to a vote, 10 are related to taxation. The table below provides an overview.
 

State

Measure

Description

Colorado Proposition 119 Increases tax on marijuana retail sales by 5% to partially fund an out-of-school educational program and a board to govern the program.
Colorado

Proposition 120

Reduces residential and non-residential property tax rates; authorizes the state to retain and spend $25 million in revenue above the state's TABOR spending cap, which it would otherwise be required to refund to taxpayers.
Louisiana

Amendment 1

Amends the Louisiana Constitution to create the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission.
Louisiana

Amendment 2

Amends the Louisiana Constitution to decrease the maximum rate of individual income tax from 6% to 4.75%.
Louisiana

Amendment 3

Applies a property tax limit of five mills ($5 per $1,000 of assessed value) in levee districts created after 2006 in levee districts where a majority of voters approve the 2021 constitutional amendment.
Texas Proposition 7 Amends the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to extend a homestead tax limit for surviving spouses of disabled individuals as long as the spouse is 55 years old and resides at the home.
Texas

Proposition 8

Amends the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to apply a homestead tax exemption for surviving spouses of members of the military to those fatally injured in the line of duty.
Washington

Advisory Vote 36

Advises the legislature to either maintain or repeal a tax on phone lines to fund behavioral health and suicide prevention services passed in House Bill 1477.
Washington

Advisory Vote 37

Advises the legislature to either maintain or repeal a capital gains tax increase to fund education and child services passed in Senate Bill 5096.
Washington

Advisory Vote 38

Advises the legislature to either maintain or repeal a tax on captive insurers passed in Senate Bill 5315.

It is worth noting that the methods and reasons for including proposals on a ballot differ from state to state. Measures can be placed on a state ballot through a variety of mechanisms, including citizen initiative petitions, advisory questions, commission referrals, automatic placement on the ballot due to state law or a constitutional provision, or legislatively referred constitutional amendments.

The most common fiscal policy ballot measures this November are legislatively referred constitutional amendments in Louisiana and Texas, followed by advisory questions in Washington, and citizen-initiated measures in Colorado.

The results could have significant ramifications for taxpayers, economic development, and state budgets as voters in Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington decide on the most suitable fiscal policies for their states.

Leo Garcia is a policy analyst with NCSL's Fiscal Affairs Program. He covers fiscal policy and economic development issues for NCSL.

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