Marijuana, tax-cutting proposals rejected

If you want to know what Americans are concerned about, ballot proposals offer one measure.

Voters on Tuesday said no to legalized marijuana in California, rejected a state income tax in Washington and amended the Illinois constitution to allow recall of its governor.

They were among the 160 ballot measures decided by voters in 37 states. There were no statewide referenda in New York.

Despite all the talk of cutting taxes, voters in some states rejected proposals to do that rather than face the consequences of reduced state spending.

Massachusetts voters rejected a measure to cut their state sales tax by more than half, from 6.25 percent to 3 percent. They chose to keep the revenue to avoid slashing $2.5 billion from state spending on services, aid to municipalities and other programs.

Three spending and tax measures were also defeated in Colorado. Voters said no to proposals banning borrowing for public works, reducing school property taxes and lowering their income taxes. If they had been approved, the state would have lost $2.1 billion in revenue.

Although California is facing a $12 billion deficit, voters rejected a proposal to raise revenue by legalizing pot under some conditions. The measure would have allowed adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce, grow it in small plots and smoke it in nonpublic places as long as children were not present.

Medical marijuana is legal in California, but South Dakota voters chose not to take that step, while Oregon voters refused to expand their medical marijuana program to create a network of state-licensed nonprofit dispensaries.

The outcome of a medical marijuana measure on the ballot in Arizona was too close to call yet, although voters banned affirmative action by state and local governments based on sex, ethnicity or race.

In Oklahoma, voters approved three measures. One made English the state’s official language and a second required a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. The third referendum banned the use of Islamic law, or Shariah, by state courts in rendering decisions, although there has never been a case of that happening in the state.

Colorado voters also rejected an anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution. The measure would have given unborn fetuses human rights in the state.

In Washington state, lower taxes prevailed. Sales taxes on candy, soda and bottled water were repealed. The state does not have an income tax, and voters chose to keep it that way by turning down a proposal to tax income above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples.

The ballot proposals are interesting, reflecting issues that Americans are pondering and debating across the country.

Source: Water town daily times

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