Once again, the United States is in the middle of a complicated voting season. The 2018 midterm elections feature many tax issues that could have significant fiscal effects for people all over the country.
According to CNBC, over the last 15 years, American voters have approved roughly 50% of tax measures on ballots, which is a likely prediction for this year.
“I think it’s important more generally to think about what it means for states to turn to their voters to raise taxes, which is normally seen as unpopular,” said Vanessa Williamson, a fellow in governance studies at Brookings Institution.
Here are some of the most important tax measures to pay attention to during the midterm elections:
- Gas and transportation taxes — The three main states involved with major gas and transportation taxes are California, Colorado, and Missouri. California voters are deciding whether or not to vote on Proposition 6, which would repeal the Road Repair and Accountability Act. Colorado voters will weigh in on Proposition 110 and Proposition 109, which determine how transportation projects will be funded across the state. And Missouri voters will vote on Proposition D, which would increase the state’s per-gallon gas tax over four years.
- Income taxes — Income taxes account for about half of federal revenue, which equates to $1.68 trillion, and are important for everyone, but Maine and Colorado voters have some major decisions to make this election season. Maine’s Question 1 would levy additional taxes on income above the Social Security contribution and benefits — $128,400. This would share both employees’ and employers’ responsibility for the 3.8% payroll tax. Additionally, Colorado voters will vote on Amendment 73, which would break up the state’s current flat tax of 4.63%, adding four new individual income tax brackets.
- Healthcare — Voters are concerned about how their pre-existing conditions, like pregnancy, asthma, allergies, and more will affect their access to healthcare. Candidates vying for votes are under increasing pressure to either protect federal healthcare programs or drastically change them. Over the next 32 years, it’s projected that more than 16 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s disease. In Maine, plans are underway to use tax revenues to create the first universal home healthcare program in the U.S. for elderly and disabled residents.
- Carbon Fee — In Washington, voters could pass Initiative 1631, enabling the state to levy the country’s first carbon fee on organizations that sell or use fossil fuels. The proposed rate of $15 per metric ton of carbon emissions would go into effect in 2020, with $2 annual increases afterward until Washington meets its emissions goal.
- Marijuana taxes — North Dakota voters are mulling Measure 3, which would legalize marijuana in the state. Measure 3 doesn’t tax marijuana, but the Tax Policy Center notes that legislators are most likely developing a way to implement taxes. Also, Michigan voters are decided on Proposal 1, allowing legal and taxable marijuana, setting up a 10% excise tax on all purchases.
Across the U.S., voters will be deciding on these important tax issues that will directly have an impact on so much more than their day-to-day lives. Whatever happens, the world is certainly watching.