Taxpayers defeat most state tax measures on midterm ballots

TJ Smith fixes an 'I Voted' sticker on his shirt after basting his ballot at polling station during early voting for the mid-term elections in the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles, California on November 4, 2018.

ROBYN BECK | AFP | Getty Images

TJ Smith fixes an ‘I Voted’ sticker on his shirt after basting his ballot at polling station during early voting for the mid-term elections in the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles, California on November 4, 2018.

When it came to tax measures on the ballot, midterm election voters were quick to say, “no.”

In the last 15 years, voters have approved about half of tax measures on ballots, said Vanessa Williamson, a fellow in governance studies at Brookings Institution. This year, there were a lot more “no’s” than typical, she said, perhaps due to this particular election’s overwhelming controversy and high number of key races.

“When in doubt, many people vote ‘no,'” she said.

Most rejected measures would have increased taxes. Corporations also fought to protect personal interests in some cases, Williamson said. For example, in Washington state, oil and gas companies successfully lobbied to prevent a carbon fee on the ballot from passing.

But it’s worth noting that even if your state measures failed, experts say that the broader midterm results could influence changes to the federal tax code and other elements of your personal finances.

Here’s how some of the big tax issues fared, according to the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of Brookings and the Urban Institute. (The outcome of some measures is still up in the air, as states process mailed ballots and finalize election results.)

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