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Some state ballot measures hold potential to affect innovation economy

November 03, 2022
By: Ellen Marrison

With 133 ballot measures before voters on Nov. 8, a gamut of topics will be decided. Those outlined below are the measure that could affect the innovation economy, ranging from initiatives that would affect higher education, to broadband expansion and measures intended to boost state economies.

Arizona Proposition 308 is asking voters if non-citizens, including Arizona Dreamers, should receive in-state college tuition. The state used to offer undocumented students in-state tuition, but in 2006 voters passed an initiative that prohibited it. Currently, at least 19 states have provisions allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented students.

Bond Question 3 in New Mexico would issue $215,986,000 in bonds for public higher education institutions, special public schools and tribal schools. And Question 1, a bond issue in Rhode Island, would issue $100 million in bonds for the University of Rhode Island Narragansett Bay Campus marine discipline educations and research needs.

Two states are considering what has been dubbed a millionaires tax, but for different purposes. Massachusetts’ Question 1 would create a 4% tax on incomes that exceed $1 million with proceeds going for public education, public colleges and universities, and transportation. In California, Proposition 30 would add a 1.75% levy on annual income of more than $2 million with revenue going for zero-emissions vehicle programs and wildfire response and prevention.

A bond issue in New York, Proposal 1, would issue $4.20 billion in general obligation bonds for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation.

In Alabama, Amendment 2 would allow the state and local governments to grant federal awards funds or other state-designated broadband fund to public or private entities to provide or expand broadband internet infrastructure.

Ranked-choice voting is on the ballot in Nevada as Question 3 and would establish open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for general elections and would apply to congressional, gubernatorial, state executive official, and state legislative elections. If approved, it will be placed on the ballot again in 2024 and if approved then, it would become law.

North Dakota Constitutional Measure 1 would impose term limits on state legislators and the governor, and Michigan Proposal 1 would change the term limits for state legislators from three 2-year terms in the state House and two 4-year terms in the state Senate to 12 combined years in the Legislature and provide that elected state legislative and executive officials file financial disclosure reports and agreements on future employment. Meanwhile in Oregon voters will decide on an initiative, Measure 113, that would disqualify lawmakers from re-election if they are absent from 10 legislative floor sessions without permission or excuse. The initiative is an attempt to eliminate statehouse walkouts by the minority party that has stalled some sessions over the last few years when dealing with legislation or budgets that are unpopular with the minority party.

In other measures, Arizona Proposition 132 is a constitutional amendment that would require a 60% vote for voters to pass ballot measures to approve taxes. A simple majority is currently required. In Arkansas, Issue 2 would also require a 60% supermajority vote of approval from voters to adopt legislatively referred and citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.

Wyoming Constitutional Amendment A would allow local governments to invest in stocks and equities upon a two-thirds supermajority vote of the state legislature.

Minimum wage is on the ballot in Nebraska, Nevada and Washington, D.C. Initiative 433 in Nebraska would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage from $9 to $15 by 2026 and annually adjust it thereafter by the cost of living. In Nevada, Question 2 would incrementally increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour by July 1, 2024, and Initiative 82 in Washington, D.C., would increase the minimum wage for tipped employees to the minimum wage for non-tipped employees.

Colorado Proposition 121 would reduce the state income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40% for tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2022.

Finally, West Virginia Amendment 2 would authorize the state legislature to exempt personal property (machinery, equipment, and inventory) used for business activity and personal motor vehicle property tax from ad valorem property taxes.

elections, state tbed