Major anti-tax measures fail

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Voters in several states defeated major anti-tax measures on Tuesday, acknowledging that their financially-strapped governments need revenue to provide services.

A trio of controversial tax initiatives in Colorado failed, as did an effort to slash sales taxes in Massachusetts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This comes amid a wave of anti-incumbent fervor that swept Republicans to victory in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Voters are not willing to go so far as to start to disassemble state government," said Jennie Bowser, an elections analyst for the conference. "They recognized there are programs and services they benefit from and they want them to continue."

At the same time, voters were not eager to raise taxes. A high-profile bid to tax millionaires in Washington state failed.

More than a quarter of the 160 initiatives on Tuesday's ballots dealt with state tax hikes, debt levels and other revenue issues. In total, there were 44 measures that could have drastically changed the way states fund themselves or make decisions on their budgets.

Though anti-tax initiatives routinely appear on ballots, they would have had a deeper impact this year since most states have yet to recover from the Great Recession. State and local officials will likely have to raise taxes and slash services in 2011 -- the fourth year in a row -- in order to balance their budgets.

The Colorado measures would have cut property taxes in half over 10 years and then used state money to fund schools, as well as banned all state borrowing and restricted local debt issuance. Voters also turned back an effort to slash the state income tax rate to 3.5%, from 4.63%, and reduce or eliminate taxes and fees on cars and telecommunication services.

In Massachusetts, meanwhile, voters turned back an attempt to cut the sales tax to 3% from 6.25%.

Those who went to the polls Tuesday didn't seem in the mood to hike taxes, either.

Washington residents were poised to defeat one of the few revenue-raising ballot measures, which called for establishing an income tax of 5% on single taxpayers earning $200,000 or more and a 9% rate on income above $500,000. (The threshold would be doubled for married Washingtonians.) The initiative would also have reduced property taxes by 20% and lower certain business taxes.

To be sure, voters did approve certain smaller tax cuts. Massachusetts residents rolled back a recently-enacted sales tax on alcohol. And in Missouri, measures to prohibit real estate sales or transfer taxes, as well as to ban local governments from imposing earnings taxes, were expected to pass. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,810.06 91.06 0.51%
Nasdaq 4,712.97 11.10 0.24%
S&P 500 2,063.50 10.75 0.52%
Treasuries 2.32 -0.02 -0.86%
Data as of 9:38am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.12 0.12 0.71%
Kinder Morgan Inc 39.75 -0.17 -0.43%
Apple Inc 116.47 0.16 0.14%
Intel Corp 35.59 -0.36 -1.00%
Microsoft Corp 47.98 -0.72 -1.48%
Data as of Nov 21

Sections

This arrangement, announced Friday, illustrates how the lines have blurred between traditional TV networks and newfangled options like Netflix. More

The Obama administration is touting that its immigration action will boost wages. But the hike amounts to only $170 a year by 2024. More

Obama doesn't have the authority to create a startup visa, but part of his reform announcement could include a workaround for entrepreneurs: 'parole status.' More

Nearly half of all Americans say there's a chance they'll have to work during a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to a new poll. And one in four say they'll have to work whether they want to or not. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.