This election will be a vital one for millions of American voters, not just because it’s a presidential election year, but because voters in 32 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories will be asked by November 3 to weigh in on a variety of issues that directly impact their communities in the form of ballot initiatives. For those who question the importance of standing in line for upwards of hours to vote, consider this: Ballot initiatives enable citizens to cut through the red tape of the lawmaking process and have a direct say on issues that affect their communities and their pocketbooks.
As millions of citizens are already heading to the polls before the November 3 general election, voters in 17 states are being asked to cast their vote on a bevy of proposed tax law changes. This year, several states are voting to legalize – and tax – marijuana, while voters in Colorado and Oregon will decide whether or not their states should increase taxes on tobacco and e-cigarettes to fund state-run health programs. Alaskans will, for the first time, decide to impose a tax on oil producers who drill in the northern reaches of The Last Frontier.
Even if your state doesn’t appear on the list, keep your eyes open for what’s being proposed because you could see a similar tax measure in an upcoming ballot in your state as states are known to replicate policies from other states whose policies were successfully approved. But keep in mind that voter approval doesn’t necessarily translate to action. Some initiatives are purely meant to be advisory (e.g., Washington state’s tax questions), and sometimes legislators or executives just plain disagree.
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Voters in the 17 states listed below will see statewide, tax-related questions on this year’s ballot. Take a look and see what residents in these states will decide when they cast their vote on November 3.