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Ballot Propositions Yield Nuanced Results

The Republications were the major winners in the Nov. 2 elections. But voters also weighed in on a number of issues on the ballot that will have a direct effect on both small businesses and citizens. And, there, said the Small Business & Entrepreneurial Council (SBE Council), the results were more nuanced.

In an editorial on the SBE Council’s website, Ray Keating, the group’s chief economist, said that though the election results on these ballot measures were more mixed compared with the wave that struck the House and gubernatorial races, significant pro-free-market victories occurred in places like Arizona, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and, most importantly, the state of Washington, according to the SBE Council.

“The big news from a small business perspective — and very good news — was that votes in the state of Washington rejected an income tax,” Keating wrote.

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the voters gave the measure a thumbs down, the fifth time voters in the state have rejected a proposed income tax since 1934. They also voted to repeal new state taxes on candy, soft drinks, bottled water and certain processed foods.

“It was a good election day in Washington for entrepreneurs, small businesses, investors, consumers and the state’s economy,” Keating wrote.

The picture in Colorado was darker, with votes there overwhelmingly rejecting a proposition that would have phased down the state’s income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent and also reduce or eliminate various vehicle fees and assorted telecommunications taxes.

Results were more mixed in California. The lone positive note was the approval of Prop 26 requiring many state and local fees to be passed by the same two-thirds vote necessary for tax increases. This closes the so-called “fee loophole,” that allowed lawmakers to rename a tax as a “fee” in order to bypass the two-thirds vote requirement.

Voters in four states — Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah — overwhelming voted to stop “card check” legislation in their states, a move that the SBE Council said protects the private ballot in labor union representation votes. And voters in Arizona and Oklahoma voted to block “ObamaCare ” mandates on having health insurance, again by an overwhelming vote.

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Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com.  Follow him on twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.