Voters across the nation this fall are deciding 36 ballot measures covering a variety of issues , all of which can be found in NCSL’s Ballot Measure Database. Twenty-eight of those measures were on ballots Tuesday in Colorado, Maine, New York, Ohio and Texas. Louisiana voters decided four measures in October and will decide the remaining four on Nov. 18.
Colorado, Ohio and Texas had tax and budget initiatives on the ballot yesterday; Louisiana has one coming later this month. Property tax relief has been the most popular measure among states so far. Here’s a look at those results and what’s to come.
Proposition HH — Failed
Proposition HH sought to lower property taxes owed by individuals and businesses, increase the cap on the amount of revenue surplus the state can keep, and change the amount and the way in which the refund from the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, is distributed.
Had it passed, taxpayers would have seen smaller annual increases in their property tax bills. The measure would have been funded by revenue surpluses collected by the state, which would have been used to reimburse local governments for a portion of their revenue loss. Consequently, TABOR refunds would have decreased, or been eliminated altogether, for all taxpayers beginning in 2024 and at least through 2032.
Local governments also would have seen new property tax limits, with a decrease of $106.6 million in fiscal year 2024 and a decrease of $348.6 million in FY 2025.
Proposition II — Approved
Proposition II allows the state to keep and spend $23.7 million in revenue from taxes on cigarettes, tobacco and other nicotine products. Additionally, the proposition allows for tax rates to remain the same. The revenue that the state keeps will fund preschool programs.
Amendment 2 — Stay Tuned
The Louisiana Legislature has proposed an amendment authorizing local governments to provide property tax exemptions of up to $2,500 to first responders, including firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, emergency response dispatchers, peace officers, police officers and sheriffs. To qualify, first responders would need to live and work in the same parish. The exemption would be in addition to the state’s current homestead exemption. Parishes would have to authorize and absorb the cost of the property tax exemption.
The fiscal note for the amendment does not estimate a cost because there is no data on the number of first responders who live and work in the same parish. Furthermore, it is unclear how many parishes would authorize the exemption.
Elections will be held Nov. 18.
Issue 2 — Approved
Issue 2 is citizen initiative that legalizes recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and establishes the Division of Cannabis Control to regulate cannabis operators. It also imposes a 10% tax on cannabis sales in addition to sales tax. The revenue collected will be distributed as follows: 36% to the cannabis social equity and jobs fund; 36% to the host community cannabis facilities fund; 25% to the substance abuse and addiction fund; and 3% to the division of cannabis control and tax commission fund. Local government entities are prohibited from levying an additional tax on cannabis sales.
Issue 2 also establishes protections for adults who use cannabis. The Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center estimates tax collections to be between $182 million and $218 million in the first full year of operations.
Texas voters approved four ballot measure proposed by the state Legislature:
Proposition 2 is a constitutional amendment that authorizes cities and counties to offer a property tax exemption for child care facilities. Cities and counties can exempt all or at least 50% of the appraised value of the facilities. Local governments will see a decrease in property tax collections, and the state incurs a cost of $204,406 for publication of the resolution.
Proposition 3 is a constitutional amendment that prohibits the Legislature from establishing a tax based on wealth, which would be calculated based on the market value of owned assets minus an individual’s liabilities. Since this measure only prohibits the creation of a wealth tax, revenue collections would remain unaffected. The state incurs a cost of $204,406 for publication of the resolution.
Proposition 4, a constitutional amendment, is part of the state’s effort to eliminate property taxes. Among several changes, the proposition establishes a temporary limit on the maximum appraised value of real property other than an individual’s primary residence. It increases the homestead tax exemption from assessed value by a school district to $100,000 from $40,000. It also increases the homestead exemption amount from school district ad valorem taxes that are imposed on the homes of elderly and disabled people.
Proposition 4 authorizes the legislature to create three new appraisal board member positions in counties with populations over 75,000. The new positions will be elected by county residents.
The measure also exempts appropriations to pay for the ad valorem property tax relief from the state’s constitutional spending limit. Proposition 4 would result in a revenue loss of $6.1 billion in FY 2024 and a loss of $6.6 billion in FY 2025.
Proposition 10 is an ad valorem tax exemption on medical equipment and inventory and personal property that is used or produced by medical and biomedical manufacturers. Supporters claim the measure will encourage manufacturers to move to the state and lower health care costs. The Legislative Budget Board estimates a cost of $204,406 that would cover publication of the resolution and a general fund decrease of $28.8 million in FY 2025.
Mandy Rafool is the director of NCSL’s Fiscal Affairs Program; Andrea Jimenez is a policy analyst in Fiscal Affairs.