Voters voice opposition to tax hikes
Some ballot initiatives of note were before voters on Nov. 2, including two questions that would have either raised outright or given a people’s stamp of approval for tax increases.
First, in Colorado, voters defeated a ballot measure that would have gradually increased the sales tax on marijuana from 15 to 20 percent. The proceeds were earmarked for after school tutoring, counselling, and other enrichment activities.
It was defeated 54-46 percent.
Opponents, including the Colorado NORML chapter, said the tax would hurt legal cannabis businesses, and spur the development of a black market:
Excessive taxes on cannabis products will send patients and consumers back to the black market. Colorado needs to prioritize where the money is spent and if schools require more funding allocate more funds out of the already $2 Billion dollars of cannabis revenue and allocate some of those funds to highway and road construction.
We have support for education, mental health, communal support and impact, along with youth drug prevention classes. Colorado need to utilize that $2 Billion in revenue towards lacking funds for education and after school programs.
This Ballot Initiative is an unnecessary tax burden. Colorado’s total marijuana sales surpassed $2 Billion in 2020 – State dispensaries brought in $175,145,246 in Nov, a 17% increase from 2019 with the State reaping $32,383,094 in revenue from taxes and fees. When is too high too HIGH!?
In Washington state, voters weighed in on an advisory measure about a new capital gains tax that will be used to fund education and child services. Voters favred repeal of the tax, 63-37 percent.
The Seattle Times urged voters to send lawmakers a message and endorse repeal:
Elected Democrats took advantage of one-party rule last spring to shoehorn this massive change into state tax code even as a bipartisan Tax Structure Work Group was studying comprehensive tax reform. They passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5096 during an unusual remote session on largely party-line votes: 25-24 in the Senate and 52-44 in the House. With some exceptions, the law imposes a 7% tax on residents’ capital-gains income over $250,000 and is expected to raise $5.7 billion in the first 10 years.
If the capital-gains tax survives court challenges, the state Department of Revenue will begin collecting revenues in 2023. The majority of the funding is routed to expand early childhood education, which is a recognized area of need. However, the capital-gains tax was simply slapped on top of government’s existing revenues rather than helping ease burdens on lower and middle class residents. That’s not the “rebalancing the tax code” the law’s text claims to provide.
Government rarely repeals a tax, but here’s hoping the pols in Olympia get the message and ax the cap gains tax.