The Tuesday Count: four newly certified measures are up for a vote in 2012
By Bailey Ludlam
The tide has turned; certified measures for upcoming elections are pouring in. According to Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count the 2012 ballot has doubled in the last four weeks. A total of 14 measures are certified to appear on ballots in 8 states. Four of those certifications took place this last week in Arkansas and North Dakota.
The state of Arkansas allows for a maximum of three legislatively-referred constitutional amendments on any given ballot. Legislators wasted no time. Three measures were given the green light this past week. The Arkansas Sales Tax Increase Amendment proposes implementing a half-cent sales tax in the state. The revenue generated from the tax would be used to pay for a four-lane highway system statewide. The Arkansas Retail Project Amendment calls for authorizing local areas, cities and counties, to create special economic districts and issue bonds for retail projects in the state. The third measure, an Arkansas Diesel Tax Increase Question, calls for a five-cent diesel tax to an existing bond issue for highway needs. All three measures are scheduled to appear on the November 6, 2012 state ballot.
Joining the list of certified measures was a proposed measure to remove the poll tax authority and 'paupers, idiots' language from the state constitution. This marks the first measure to qualify for the ballot in North Dakota. Legislators unanimously voted to refer the measure to the 2012 ballot. The measure is similar to amendments made in New Mexico, Washington and Arkansas.
For the upcoming 2011 ballot, this week marks the 5th consecutive week with no updates. However, that may be changing. On March 31, 2011 Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 5, also known as the "Collective Bargaining Bill," launching efforts for a referendum. According to reports, SB 5 opponents collected about 3,000 signatures, more than enough to turn in to the Ohio Attorney General's office for the first step of the process. Once the Attorney General verifies the signatures and approves the petition, circulators have until June 30th to collect an additional 231,149 signatures from registered voters from least half of the 88 counties in the state. If all signatures are verified, the measure will appear on the November 2011 ballot.
- Illinois Treasurer and Comptroller Amendment (2012) - would merge the state offices of treasurer and comptroller. The new office would be called "Comptroller of the Treasury." It is estimated that the merger would save the state $12 million annually.
- Missouri Campaign Finance Limit Initiative (2012) - proposes limiting the amount of contributions that may be accepted by candidates running for both state and local office to $5,000 or less per election.
- Nebraska Hunting and Fishing Amendment (2012) - would protect the right of residents to hunt and fish in the state.
- South Carolina Recall Amendment (2012) - would allow residents in the state to recall officials from office. The measure was introduced in 2011 state legislative session. The proposal would require signatures from 15 percent of qualified voters to send the recall to the ballot.
SPOTLIGHT: April 5 - Election Day!
If you live in Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin then today has most likely been a busy day. In Missouri, 36 counties have posted issues on their ballots, in Illinois there are 42 counties with measures and in Wisconsin there are 36 counties with measures. California has one issue to be voted on, Colorado has seven and Florida has 27 (26 of those being charter amendments) in just one county.
A majority of the issues being voted on are school elections, either to issue bonds for the school district or renew/increase current property taxes. Illinois has a fair amount of villages and townships asking for aggregated electricity buying power as well as tax increases for local cities or districts.
Missouri has some significant measures asking residents to prohibit smoking, in Springfield, Cape Girardeau and O'Fallon as well as income earning tax questions in St. Louis and Kansas City. The earnings tax question was referred to the ballot following the November 2010 statewide vote on Proposition A. With the approval of the 2010 measure, voters in Kansas City and St. Louis were required to hold a referendum on keeping the levy in 2011 and every five years thereafter. If the levy is rejected by voters the tax would be phased out at one-tenth of one percent per year and could not be reinstated. If Proposition A had been defeated by voters the current state laws would have stayed the same, allowing cities to continue generating revenue through earnings tax.
| 2011 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2011 Scorecard|