Weekly Round-Up: 2014 Election - Voters Approve Taxing Soda, Marijuana, and Millionaires


Voters across the country took part in Nov. 4 elections to cast their votes on questions ranging from imposing a “millionaire tax” to legalizing marijuana.

On the income tax front, in Illinois, voters overwhelmingly favored amending the state constitution to impose a “millionaire tax” on personal income exceeding $1 million. Voters in Georgia, however, approved a measure to prohibit an increase in the top income tax rate. Meanwhile, Tennessee voters approved a measure that prohibits state or local income or payroll taxes.

Excise taxes were also popular in the elections this year. Berkeley, Calif., became the first U.S. city to approve a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and juice, an initiative the beverage industry spent more than $1 million fighting there in 2014. Meanwhile, Alaska and Oregon became the next two states to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. In Massachusetts, voters approved a ballot initiative that would end automatic increases in the state gasoline tax due to inflation as of Jan. 1, 2015.

Property taxes also had a place on ballots. Voters supported property tax breaks for veterans and surviving spouses in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Virginia by approving state constitutional amendments establishing or expanding homestead exemptions.  In North Dakota, voters approved a constitutional amendment that prohibits the levying of a mortgage tax or sales tax on the transfer of property. San Franciscans rejected a measure aimed at real estate flippers.

Rounding out the election results, voters in Alameda County, Calif., approved the extension of a half-cent tax and adding another half-cent to fund transit projects, two years after a more expansive measure narrowly failed.

Finally, in Utah, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have removed the limitation that no more than two members of the State Tax Commission may be appointed from the same political party.

Some notable developments from the State Tax Developments Tracker – Bloomberg BNA’s new tool for monitoring important developments in all the states:

California Franchise Tax Board Issues Bulletin on Misapplied Collection and Filing Fees Applied to Single Member Limited Liability Companies

Connecticut Department of Revenue Services Issues Special Notice on 2014 Legislative Changes Affecting Income Tax

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Issues November 2014 Newsletter Containing Information on 2015 Franchise Tax Rates

For more information about this and other state tax issues, sign up for a free trial of the Bloomberg BNA Premier State Tax Library. 

In other developments…

New Jersey Tax Court – Division acted unreasonably in applying related party addback unreasonable exception, a new alert by PwC

State Tax Collections Decline in the Second Quarter of 2014, But Early Data Point Upward for the Third Quarter, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government reports

Corporate Net Operating Loss Carryforward and Carryback Provisions by State, by the Tax Foundation

Compiled by Priya D. Nair

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