Most States Reject Higher Taxes at the Ballot Box: Arizona is the Lone Exception

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While public attention has been on the highly charged speculations of the Presidential race, voters in 17 states throughout the country were asked to vote on a variety of tax measures at the ballot box.

The results of these measures were fascinating to say the least, especially the results in typically blue states that are generally favorable to higher taxes.
Despite Biden’s incessant promise to undo Trump’s tax cuts, voters in the country’s most liberal states rebuffed proposals to increase taxes across the board.

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It is a well-known fact that these traditionally high-tax states have driven droves of citizens and businesses to lower-tax states such as Arizona, Texas and Utah in the past decade.  Except for measures to increase taxes on marijuana, tobacco, and other drugs, ironically, Arizona is the only state this election to pass the same economically ruinous policies blue states are now trying to undo.

Illinois voted on a measure to eliminate their Constitutional flat income tax system and institute a progressive, soak the rich system, which failed by a wide margin of 10 points.  Opposition to this change was realistically much higher than even 55 percent because in Illinois a Constitutional amendment can be ratified with a simple majority and voters who leave the question blank count as an affirmative for the measure!

California too, asked voters to increase taxes in the form of removing a cap on property taxes for commercial owners.  Like Arizona’s Prop 208, California’s Proposition 15 would have constituted the largest tax increase in California’s history.  Surprisingly, the measure has failed, leaving intact one of the shelters for California’s businesses.
Despite an oppositional education lobby and the proponents being outspent almost 2:1, Colorado’s voters
passed a REDUCTION in their income tax by a margin of 15 PERCENT!  Colorado’s flat tax system protects taxpayers from class warfare at the ballot box.

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Even in Washington state that does not have an income tax – cutting taxes is popular.  The legislature repealed four separate onerous taxes on businesses including a plastic bag tax. These changes were on voters’ ballots as “advisory votes” which allow the electorate to affirm or oppose tax changes made by the legislature – all were supported by the majority of voters.

One of these measures was a repeal of a tax targeted at the aerospace industry which has threatened to send Boeing out of the evergreen state.  Alaskan voters too saw the wisdom of not killing the golden goose, where voters could have passed a measure to raise a $1Billion by sticking it to the oil industry, but the proposal failed by an almost 30 percent spread.

These results are astounding.  State and local economies have been pounded by the COVID19 shutdowns and there is almost universal acceptance that lower taxes on individuals and businesses will encourage growth and recovery.  The failure of the left’s tax policies is apparent to even the die-hard leftists in the bluest states in the country.  Their uncompetitive tax systems have driven away businesses and job-creators and hamstrung economic growth and they are now changing course.

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After a decade of climbing out of the Great Recession, Arizona has rebuilt its economy by controlling spending, adopting competitive tax policies, and limiting regulatory burdens on businesses.  That has led to thousands of new jobs, a more diversified economy and prosperity in the state which has allowed for over a $1 billion of new sustainable monies to flood the education system.

Proposition 208 undoes all this progress.  Despite our state’s success story and liberal states trying to adopt our playbook, it looks like Arizona will have to learn the hard way

 

This Blog from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club was originally published on November 11. 2020 and is republished with permission. The opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the views of The Prickly Pear or of our sponsors.

 

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