It was a historic day on yesterday with the election of President Elect Barack Obama. It’s almost easy to forget that there were other elections and ballot issues to consider but voters in some states faced a laundry list of issues. Among those were several state tax measures, including:

In Arkansas: Voters supported an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution which, among things, eliminated a reference to the poll tax.

In Colorado: Voters said no on several tax measures, including a state sales tax increase. Amendment 58, which would end a property tax credit for Colorado’s oil and gas industry and boost severance tax revenue by $321 million a year – seven companies, including Chevron and Conoco each contributed $1 million towards the opposition campaign. Severance taxes are imposed on minerals extracted from the state, or “severed,” to compensate for nonrenewable resources.

In Florida: Voters defeated Amendment 8, which would have authorized counties to ask voters if they want to increase the sales tax for up to five years to aid the local community college. Voters approved Amendment 4, which would give conserved property a lower tax assessment; the amendment also eliminates property taxes on lands placed in a perpetual conservation easement.

In Louisiana: Voters said no to a bill that would dedicate additional state severance taxes to parishes (like counties) of origin (See Colorado above).

In Maine: Voters approved a measure vetoing a new tax on beer, wine and soft drinks, which would help finance a state health care program.

In Massachusetts: Voters rejected another measure that would have cut, and then eliminated, the state’s personal income tax. A similar measure was rejected in 2002.

In North Dakota: Voters rejected an income tax cut. Measure 2 would have cut income taxes in half and corporate income taxes by 15%.

In Nevada: Voters shot down an attempt by the Nevada Legislature to amend or repeal the sales and use tax without voter approval.

In Oklahoma: Voters overwhelmingly approved an exemption from personal property tax for injured veterans and veterans’ surviving spouses. Voters also approved a measure that would require a person or business to file an application in order to receive a property tax exemption.

In Oregon: Voters said yes to an exemption that required 50% voter turnout to pass property tax increase measures. Voters turned down a measure that would have allowed federal taxes paid to be deducted from Oregon taxable income.

(Note: Findings were based on local newspaper and media reports. If you have additional information, please share!)

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.


  1. In Minnesota:

    Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment

    “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?”

    with 95% reporting it looks like it will pass.

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