The Other Big Election 2008 News
by Byrne Hobart
Although most people were paying closer attention to the Presidential election, some local votes might have a bigger impact in the long run:
- Massachusetts voted against a ballot initiative to end their state income tax, surprisingly basically nobody. According to the AP, “virtually every elected official in the state” opposed the initiative. Interestingly enough, one third of the voters supported it, even though opponents spent ten times as much on ads. Apparentlty the voters in Massachusetts have a hard time electing anyone who feels the way they do about taxes.
- On the other hand, Maine voters decided to abolish taxes on beer and soda, thanks in no part to funding from the beverage industry. In a move that only a committee of committees could have dreamed up, this measure was somehow attached to a statewide health insurance rule which had previously been funded by charging the insurance companies directly.
- Michigan, Massachussets, and California weighed legalizing certain vices, which could make them eligible for taxation. Michigan legalized medical marijuana, and Massachussets decriminalized the regular kind, while California stopped short of allowing prostitution in San Francisco.
- And even though Americans are having more trouble saving than ever, voters were happy to approve billions of dollars in new bond issues.
- Finally, it’s not quite tax-related, but: voters in Idaho have finally toned down their state constitution by removing a clause barring “idiots and the insane” from voting.