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Leslie Bonacum
Neil Allen

CCH Looks At Taxes On The Ballot Across The States

(RIVERWOODS, ILL., October 31, 2002) – Voters in many states will have a direct say in their economic future this coming election day, according to CCH INCORPORATED (CCH), a leading provider of tax information and software. The CCH State Tax Review, a newsletter for tax professionals, notes that, in addition to the names of candidates, the ballots in 17 states will carry proposed tax measures for the voters’ approval on Tuesday.

"Some of the measures voters will be considering on November 5 could have significant implications for tax policy nationwide," noted Daniel Schibley, CCH state tax analyst. Among the most closely watched items are proposals to eliminate taxes on food and medicine in Arkansas, abolish the personal income tax in Massachusetts and increase taxes in Oregon to fund a new single-payer health care system.

In all, more than 40 state tax-related measures will be submitted to the electorate. Georgia voters will consider the most issues – 10 propositions ranging from an increase in the personal property tax exemption to a ban on holding state office for tax deadbeats.

CCH’s State Tax Review offers the following summary of state tax issues on the ballot.

Tax Increases

  • Arizona and Missouri voters will decide whether to increase cigarette taxes.
  • Oklahoma voters are asked to allow local governments to levy a special sales tax of no more than 1% to fund economic development.
  • Oregon voters will consider additional income and payroll taxes to fund a single-payer health care system.
  • Utah voters will decide on new and increased fees and taxes on the disposal and storage of radioactive waste to fund education and anti-poverty programs.
  • Virginia voters in Northern Virginia and Eastern Virginia will consider increases in sales and use tax to pay for transportation projects.
  • Washington voters will be asked to increase fuel excise taxes, sales taxes on vehicles, and weight fees on trucks and large vehicles to finance transportation improvements.

Broad-Based Tax Reductions

  • Arkansas voters will decide whether to eliminate all taxes on food and medicine.
  • Georgia voters are asked whether to increase the personal property tax exemption for tangible personal property from $500 to $7,500.
  • Louisiana voters will consider a measure providing that personal income tax rates and brackets may not exceed the rates and brackets set forth under the state's income tax law on January 1, 2003, and phasing out sales and use taxes on food and utilities for household use and prescription drugs.
  • Massachusetts voters will decide whether to eliminate the state personal income tax.
  • Washington voters will be asked whether to repeal laws authorizing local taxes and fees on motor vehicles for transportation purposes.

Tax Breaks for Young and Old

  • Arizona and Louisiana voters will consider proposals affecting application procedures for property tax advantages for people age 65 and older.
  • Florida voters will decide whether to allow property tax exemptions for increases in the assessed value of property resulting from the construction of living quarters for the property owner's parent or grandparent who is age 62 or older.
  • Georgia voters will decide whether to change the income limit under which taxpayers age 62 or older may claim a school tax homestead exemption from property tax.
  • Louisiana voters will consider authorizing contracts for exempting developers of retirement communities from property tax.
  • North Dakota voters are asked to approve a personal income tax credit of up to $1,000 for employed state residents age 21-29, for up to five years.

Exemptions for the Military

  • Georgia voters will decide whether to extend a property tax exemption for spouses of military personnel who die as a result of war or armed conflict.
  • New Mexico voters will consider separate proposals to grant property tax exemptions to armed conflict veterans and to veterans with a service-connected disability.

Other Exemptions and Tax Breaks

  • Georgia voters will consider several property tax proposals to exempt certain historic property and commercial fishing vessels, permit different classification for low-income housing and different tax rates for properties contaminated with hazardous waste or used for the landing and processing of seafood, and allow counties and municipalities to establish community redevelopment tax incentive programs.
  • Louisiana voters will decide whether to exempt from property tax offshore drilling rigs used for exploration and development of minerals.
  • Nevada voters will consider separate proposals for sales and use tax exemptions for (a) farm machinery and equipment and (b) professional racing vehicles.
  • North Dakota voters will decide whether to eliminate from the state constitution a property tax exemption for land held for conservation or wildlife purposes and place the determination for providing the exemption in the hands of the legislature.
  • Oklahoma voters will be asked to grant a property tax exemption for storm shelters.
  • Utah voters will consider a property tax exemption for property that is not owned by but is under the control of the state or its subdivisions.
  • Virginia voters will decide whether to allow localities to grant property tax exemptions for property used for charitable or similar purposes.

Other Tax-Related Proposals

  • Georgia voters will consider whether to prohibit people who are defaulters for federal, state, or local taxes from holding public office in the state.
  • Hawaii voters will decide whether to exempt school-funding bonds, and related revenue and interests, from most taxes.
  • Nevada and Oklahoma voters will consider proposals to allow the legislatures to abate certain taxes in cases of economic hardship.
  • Oregon voters will decide whether to allow tax districts that have not imposed property tax since July 1, 1990, to establish permanent property tax rates and divide into tax zones.
  • Utah voters will consider a reorganization of tax provisions in the Utah Constitution that would include amending the provision regarding county boards of equalization to accommodate current county government structure and clarifying existing constitutional provisions.
  • Washington voters will be asked to permit property tax levy propositions for fire protection districts to be submitted to voters for periods up to four or six years, rather than annually.
  • Washington voters will also be asked to approve changes made to the state's unemployment insurance tax law by recent legislation.
  • West Virginia voters will decide whether to permit county and municipal governments to increase the maximum rates for property tax levies for a period not to exceed five, rather than the current three, years.
  • West Virginia voters will also consider a proposal to authorize the financing of economic development projects through the issuance of bonds payable from property taxes assessed on the enhanced value of property located in the project area.


CCH INCORPORATED was founded in 1913 and has served four generations of business professionals and their clients. CCH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer North America. The CCH Federal and State Group Tax site can be accessed at

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