Sales Tax Slice: Colorado to Tax (Still Illegal) Marijuana Sales, Arkansas and California Approve Rate Hikes

The 2012 state elections included a vast array of tax measures, including a number of sales tax measures, including the approval of an excise tax on marijuana in Colorado. Arizona voters rejected a bid to increase the state's sales tax by one percent. But sales tax hikes were approved in Arkansas and California.

Below is a recap of some of the 2012 sales and use tax ballot measures:


  • Proposition 117, a measure to permanently increase the state sales rate to 6.6 percent from the current 5.6 percent rate was rejected by the voters. 


  • A constitutional amendment to impose a temporary additional sales and use tax of 0.5 percent on all taxable sales, with the exception of sales of food and food ingredients, to fund various transportation projects was approved by the voters.


  • Proposition 30, which increases the state sales tax rate for the next four years, from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent, and also increases the personal income tax rate on high-income earners. The revenue from the new taxes is to be directed towards public education.


  • Recreational marijuana use was legalized in a constitutional amendment approved by Colorado voters. The General Assembly is directed to impose an excise tax on marijuana sales. However, these sales are still illegal under federal law.


  • An initiative to require a two-thirds  supermajority before any new or additional taxes could be added, a tax base expanded, or a tax rate increased, was rejected by the voters.


  • A tobacco tax initiative was rejected.

North Dakota

  • Voters in North Dakota approved the removal of language in the state constitution allowing a poll tax on men. This language has never been utilized and has been outlawed under federal law for the past 50 years.

South Dakota

  • South Dakota voters rejected a measure to increase the state sales tax by 1 percent.


  • An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana was approved; however it faces the same uncertainty as the similar measure passed in Colorado.
  • Voters passed an initiative reinstating the requirement that the legislature must have a two-thirds majority to enact any tax increase.

Bloomberg BNA's Daily Tax Reporthas a number of stories detailing the 2012 election results. See also Ballotpedia.orgfor detailed election results.

For more information about state and local sales and use taxes, see Bloomberg BNA's Sales and Use Tax Navigator.


By Nancy Emison

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