Tuesday, Nov. 6 is Election Day across the country. In what feels like one of the most important mid-term elections in a generation some financial measures could resonate across the land, whether they are passed or rejected. Money Examiners looks at a few of them and discusses their critical financial importance.
The Great State of Colorado’s voters will decide on tax measures for education, parks, and mental health. One ballot measure would provide $45 million a year for park construction and green space maintenance in the first year. Another bill on the Colorado ballot will, if passed, provide $45 million in funds for suicide prevention and housing for developmentally disabled persons.
In Arizona, one important election decision has already been made by the Arizona Supreme Court. A ballot measure to prohibit so-called “dirty campaign money” was deemed to have too few signatures provided by supporters. The initiative was opposed by conservative groups. Arizona voters will also decide on Proposition 127, which will increase the mandate for clean energy in the sunniest state in the Union. Proponents of the bill claim it will save Arizonans on their energy bill, along with cleaning the air. Opponents of Prop. 127 claim that the bill will (you guessed it) raise rates.
Voters in 15 states will decide on 20 ballot measures designed to generate over $2 billion in public education revenue. Some of these would add additional money for private school vouchers.
Minimum wage increases are on several state ballots this Tuesday. This is important as the disparity between minimum wages across the states is the largest in our history. Currently, minimum wages span from a low of $7.25 an hour in ten states and Puerto Rico to $13.25 an hour in Washington D.C. The Massachusetts minimum will become $12/hour on January 1, 2019. Washington State has the third highest minimum at $11.50, but Washingtonians approved an increase that will match Massachusetts, also on the first of January.
As legalized gambling spreads across the land due to recent federal legislation, at least one state has a measure on the ballot to slow the spread of betting. Florida voters will decide whether to ban dog racing, and whether to make new casinos something that voters must approve. Floridians will also vote on a measure that will keep the amount that commercial building property taxes can increase at 10%.
Finally, elections in California are always interesting, and this ballot has a big choice on it. Proposition 6 is a Republican-sponsored try to repeal the gas-tax increase imposed just last year. If passed, it eliminates $5 billion a year in statewide road and/or bridge repair. It would also make it more difficult for the state to increase gas taxes in future years. In reality, the state abandoned most road and bridge repairs in the last several years due to chronic budget shortfalls. Since the tax increase, there has been a frenzy of road construction across California. If Prop. 6 passes that construction will end immediately.
Are you located in any of these states? If so, vote! If not, vote anyway. We’re sure there are vital measures on your ballot. Money Examiners will re-visit the subject a few days after the election to tell you who won and who lost in these mid-year elections, along with what the results mean for your finances.