New Political Issues
Some of the biggest/most progressive propositions on the 2020 ballot in the US are the legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona, the split roll initiative in California, the tobacco tax bill in Colorado, and the graduated income tax amendment in Illinois. An overview of each proposition is provided below.
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Arizona
- The initiative (Proposition 205) would "allow people 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana," but it would still be prohibited to smoke it in public places. It would also be legal to grow a maximum of six marijuana plants in personal residences. Also, anyone arrested, charged, or convicted for "less serious marijuana-related offenses" would be able to petition to have their "criminal records expunged" starting July 21, 2021. Arizona would also tax recreation marijuana under the general sales tax.
- According to a Monmouth University poll, 56% of respondents are in favor of the initiative and stated that they would vote for it.
- As per a HighGround Public Affairs Consultants' poll, 65% of voters support the initiative.
- Ulrik Boesen , a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, stated: "Revenue from these broad-based taxes, combined with a potential saving as illicit operations decline, does represent general fund revenue."
- Prop. 207 spokesperson Stacy Pearson said that the revenue from marijuana sales would bring "more money for the state."
Split Roll Initiative in California
- The initiative (Proposition 15) would introduce a split roll property tax system by "changing the assessment regime just for commercial property." This would increase the property tax burden on commercial activity by $8 billion to $12.5 billion annually.
- According to a Berkeley IGS poll, 49% of likely voters would vote in favor of the initiative.
- As per a PPIC poll, 51% of likely voters would vote in favor.
- Craig A. Becker, Richard E. Nielsen, and Breann E. Robowski from Pillsbury agree that "small businesses and renters will likely be hit the worst by the Initiative as most are triple-net tenants, meaning the landlord will simply pass on the increased property tax to the tenant."
- According to Capital Rivers Commercial, the initiative if approved will end "a system where two properties, sitting side-by-side and of equal value, can be taxed at dramatically different rates simply based on acquisition dates."
Tobacco Tax Bill in Colorado
- The initiative (proposition EE) would raise tobacco taxes in Colorado in three stages, increasing to $1.94 in 2021, to $2.24 in 2024, and to $2.64 in 2027. Also, the tax on other tobacco and nicotine products would increase to 50% of wholesale value in 2021, 56% in 2024, and 62% in 2027.
- Mike Johnston, leader of Gary Community Investments, thinks that the initiative "could be a model for the country on how to do universal preschool."
- According to Guy Bentley, director of consumer freedom research at Reason Foundation, this initiative "would undoubtedly raise revenue for the state." However, he also thinks that, as people decrease their tobacco consumption, it would leave the program "vulnerable to shortfalls that would require further tax increases."
Graduated Income Tax Amendment in Illinois
- The initiative would tax corporate income at 10.49%, becoming the second-highest rate in the US, and pass-through business income would be taxed at 9.49%, the sixth-highest rate in the country.
- According to different polls conducted by the University of Illinois and Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, 67% of Illinois voters support the initiative.
- Ulrik Boesen stated that this initiative "would create some of the highest rates in the country."
- The editorial board of St. Louis Post-Dispatch stated that "the Fair Tax amendment would alleviate underfunding while doing away with the inequity of taxing working people like they're millionaires."