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Election 2023: Gubernatorial Campaigns, State Legislatures & Ballot Measure Initiatives

November 02, 2023
By: Laura Lacy Graham

Three states are holding gubernatorial elections this fall, with voters in one of those states (Louisiana) having already chosen a new governor to replace a term-limited incumbent. In the remaining states, Kentucky and Mississippi, elections will be held next week (Nov. 7), with the incumbents facing tough opponents in their reelection bids. Six states (Colorado, Maine, New York, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas) will vote on 36 statewide ballot measures this fall. Of those measures, 30 of the 36 measures are legislatively referred constitutional amendments or statutes, while the other six are citizen initiatives. Many of this year’s measures are focused on taxes and state funds. At the same time, state legislative elections will be held in Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Ballot Measure Initiatives     

Six states (Colorado, Maine, New York, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas) will vote on 36 statewide ballot measures this fall. The following states’ measures are of note.

Colorado

Proposition HH: Property Tax Changes and Revenue Change Measure would enact changes to state property taxes and revenue limitations, including reducing property tax rates and allowing the state government to retain revenue that would otherwise be refunded to taxpayers or required to be reimbursed under the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR). The measure would also temporarily change how TABOR refunds are distributed and create a new property tax limit for most local governments.

Louisiana  

Amendment 4: The Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund Amendment would allow the state legislature, through a two-thirds supermajority vote, to use up to $250 million of funds in the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund to alleviate a budget deficit.

Ohio

Issue 2: The Marijuana Legalization Initiative would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years of age or older and enact a 10% tax on cannabis sales, with the revenues going toward administrative costs, addiction treatment programs, municipalities with dispensaries, and a social and equity jobs program. According to an analysis by the Ohio State University, the measure would generate additional revenues of $218 million in the first year.

Texas  

Proposition 3: Prohibit Taxes on Wealth or Net Worth Amendment would prohibit a wealth or net worth tax. The proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit the enactment of an individual wealth or net worth tax on individuals or families without requiring lawmakers to ask voters for authorization.

Proposition 4: Property Tax Changes and State Education Funding Amendment would increase homestead tax exemption to $100,000 and increase state funding for public education.

Proposition 5: Rename State University Research Fund and Establish Ongoing Revenue Source Amendment would rename the National Research University Fund to the Texas University Fund and establish an ongoing revenue source from the accrued interest of the economic stabilization fund.

Proposition 8: Creation of Broadband Infrastructure Fund Amendment would create the Texas Broadband Infrastructure Fund to finance high-speed broadband access.

Proposition 10: Tax Exemption on Medical Equipment and Inventory Amendment would authorize an ad valorem tax exemption on equipment and inventory manufactured by medical or biomedical companies.

State Legislatures    

Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia (set to hold their elections on Nov. 7) are holding legislative elections this month. Simple majorities are guaranteed for Republicans in both chambers in Mississippi, while all seats in the New Jersey Legislature (where Republicans are eager to try to take back control of at least one of the houses of the Legislature for the first time in two decades) and the Virginia General Assembly (where Gov. Glenn Youngkin is working to flip the state’s divided control into a Republican trifecta for the first time since 2019, all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly will be on the ballot. Republicans currently control the House of Delegates, while Democrats control the Senate.

Updates to and results of the 2023 elections will be reported in next week’s Digest.

elections, tax rules, broadband