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Several Statewide TBED Issues Win Voter Approval

November 05, 2008

The outcome of Tuesday's election resulted in several wins and some defeats for TBED among the more than 150 ballot measures presented to voters across the nation. Outlined below are the unofficial election results of select ballot measures from each state's respective election office and local media reports as of Wednesday, Nov. 5. More detailed information on the measures is provided in last week's issue of the Digest, which is available at: http://www.ssti.org/Digest/2008/102908.htm#election.

Voters approved 63 percent to 37 percent a constitutional amendment authorizing the General Assembly to establish, operate and regulate state lotteries to fund scholarships and grants for residents enrolled in two- and four-year colleges and universities in the state. Voters also approved a measure to shift the state's budgeting from a two-year cycle to an annual cycle.

Two measures supporting renewable energy were defeated by California voters. Proposition 7, requiring public and private utilities to generate a percentage of their power from renewable energy, was defeated 65 percent to 35 percent. Proposition 10, authorizing the state to borrow $10 billion over 30 years for renewable energy spending, was defeated 60 percent to 40 percent.

Voters rejected a proposal to raise taxes on oil and natural gas production. Measure 58 was supported by Gov. Bill Ritter, who proposed using the estimated $300 million generated from the increase to fund college scholarships and environmental programs, reports the Rocky Mountain News. Additionally, Measure 59, a proposal to transfer excess revenues typically returned to taxpayers into a savings account for public education, was also defeated by voters.

Florida voters rejected a proposal authorizing counties to levy a local option sales tax to supplement funding for public community colleges by a margin of 56.5-43.5 percent.

Voters approved 58 percent to 41 percent an amendment to the state constitution authorizing up to 15,000 video lottery terminal gaming machines in four counties and the city of Baltimore. A portion of the revenue from the gaming is directed toward public education.

A measure to eliminate the personal income tax was overwhelmingly defeated 69 percent to 31 percent, according to unofficial results reported by the Boston Globe. The Massachusetts Bay Authority announced a $357 million sale of bonds following the election results; the decision to sell the bonds was postponed until after the election because repealing the income tax would have made tax-free debt less attractive, reports Reuters.

Voters approved 53 percent to 47 percent a proposal that amends the state constitution to allow research on embryonic stem cells created for fertility treatment that would otherwise be destroyed.

A measure requiring investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources sources equaling at least 2 percent of retail sales by 2011 and 15 percent by 2021 passed with 66 percent of the vote.

Montana residents voted in support of a referendum to continue a special 6-mil levy on all real estate and personal property, with the funds supporting the university system. The measure, which keeps the levy in place through 2019, was approved 56 percent to 44 percent.

Proposed Amendment 1, removing a requirement that cities use only general tax revenue for economic and industrial development projects and programs, was defeated 54 percent to 46 percent by voters, keeping the mandate intact.

North Dakota
Taxpayers in North Dakota will continue to pay the same income tax following defeat of Statutory Measure 2. The proposal, rejected by 70 percent of the vote, would have cut the income tax rate in half for individuals and by 15 percent for corporations.

Local Elections
Voters approved a university-backed initiative to finance the Johnson County Education Research Triangle in Kansas by raising $15 million annually through an eighth-cent sales tax increase. By a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent, voters supported the initiative, which is aimed at helping Kansas City secure a top 20 spot as one of the nation's leading bioscience research hubs, according to The Kansas City Star.  The Johnson County Research Triangle Authority will distribute the funds equally across three campuses:

  • Cutting-edge trials and increased cancer treatment options in Fairway through the Kansas University (KU) Center;
  • Food safety studies at the Kansas State University National Food Safety and Animal Health Institute in Olathe; and
  • Expanded high-tech education opportunities in business, engineering, science and technology at KU's Edwards Campus in Overland Park.
Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouristate tbed