Key State Tax Proposals Up for a Vote on Nov. 8by
As enthralling as the Trump-and-Hillary show is, there actually are other voting issues throughout the country, including key state tax ballot initiatives, many of which are highlighted in a new report by the Tax Foundation.
“Ballot initiatives and referenda are often an afterthought on Election Day, but in many states, voters going to the polls on Nov. 8 will have the opportunity to weigh in on significant – in some cases, momentous – policy questions,” the report states.
Here’s a sampling of the ballot measures:
- Proposition 205: Legalize pot. It would be taxed at the general sales tax rate, and a 15 percent excise tax of the retail sale price would be added.
- Proposition 55: Extend the temporary income tax increases on high-income earners passed in 2012 under Proposition 30. If it passes, the state would keep its top individual income tax rate of 13.3 percent – the highest in the country.
- Proposition 56: Hike cigarette taxes. A proposed tax increase from 87 cents to $2.87 per pack would be the eighth-highest cigarette tax in the country.
- Proposition 64: Legalize pot. It would be taxed once during cultivation at $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. A 15 percent tax would be levied at the retail sale point, plus the general sales tax rate.
- Amendment 69: A proposed 10 percent payroll and income tax would be in addition to the state’s existing 4.63 percent single-rate individual income tax, which would pay for a new public-option healthcare system, ColoradoCare. Approval would rank the state highest in individual income taxes nationwide, with a 14.63 percent tax on the first $350,000 of income and $450,000 for joint filers.
- Amendment 72: Hike cigarette taxes. The proposal would increase the state’s cigarette tax from 84 cents to $2.59 per pack, making the state’s cigarette tax the 10th-highest nationwide.
- Amendment 3: Repeal the corporate tax deduction for federal taxes paid. Concurrent legislation would lower the corporate tax rate from 8 percent to 6.5 percent.
- Question 1: Legalize pot. Sales would be taxed at 10 percent.
- Question 2: Increase the top individual income tax rate from 7.15 percent to 10.15 percent for income-earners over $200,000. The increase would make Maine’s top income tax rate the highest in the Northeast and second to California nationwide.
- Question 4: Legalize pot. In addition to the state sales tax, buyers would pay an additional 3.75 percent excise tax while allowing cities or towns to add up to an additional 2 percent.
- Proposition A and Amendment 3: The first would increase cigarette taxes from 17 cents to 40 cents per pack over a five-year period. Amendment 3 would increase the tax to 77 cents per pack and add a new 67-cent fee for manufacturers excluded from the Master Settlement Agreement that would be adjusted annually according to inflation rates. State authorities are not sure which proposal (or both) would take effect if both measures pass.
- Amendment 4: The “Taxpayer Protection Amendment” would ban adding any service or transaction to the state or local sales tax base if it wasn’t taxed already as of Jan. 1, 2015.
- Question 2: Legalize pot. The wholesale value of the product would be taxed at 15 percent, and the product would be subject to state and local sales taxes.
- Measure 4: Increase cigarette taxes from 44 cents to $2.20 per pack, increase the tax on other tobacco products from 28 percent to 56 percent of the wholesale price, and expand the category to include vapor products.
- Question 779: Increase the state sales tax rate from 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent, which is intended to raise $550 million for teacher salary increases and other education issues. Combined with other high local-option sales taxes averaging 4.35 percent, the measure would yield an average state and local sales tax rate of 9.85 percent – the second highest in the country.
- Measure 97: Institute a 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on total receipts for corporations with “substantial sales volume.”
- Initiative 732: Would impose the nation’s first carbon tax at an initial $15 per metric ton of carbon emissions, increasing to $25 per ton in the subsequent year and by inflation, plus 3.5 percent each year after until reaching an inflation-adjusted $100 in 2016 dollars. After that, it would be indexed to inflation but not increase in real terms. The sales tax rate would decrease in phases from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent over two years, and the gross receipts tax rate on manufacturing would drop from 0.484 percent to 0.01 percent.
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.