November 9, 2011

Voters Send Mixed Messages on Financial Matters

Ohio public unions gain, Obama health-care plan gets a thumbs down

Voters across the nation on Tuesday passed judgment on a variety of financial measures from labor laws to alcohol sales to sales taxes. The results offered no clear-cut consensus.

Ohio voters turned back a law that limited public sector union rights to collective bargaining in an action that promises broader repercussions throughout the country. At the same time, they voted to prohibit a requirement in President Barack Obama's health-care act that people must purchase health insurance. While any action on that front will require court action, it is a window into public sentiment about being obligated to purchase coverage.

In Denver, voters shot down a measure that would mandate sick leave for employees, as well as killing a funding measure for schools. Other tax rate proposals in Colorado went down to defeat as well. And in Minnesota, voters approved some measures for individual school districts, while vetoing new resources for public education.

In the Bay Area of California, voters were more generous, approving some tax measures that included everything from sales tax hikes to increases in hotel taxes, parcel taxes, and bonds. In Vallejo, voters even approved a 10% tax on medical marijuana that was designed to help pay for services cut over the past few years, including police, fire, and paramedics; youth and senior citizen programs; and public works.

In Maine, voters rejected a proposition to allow casinos in some locales, while in New Jersey voters approved a casino measure. Atlanta voters approved Sunday liquor sales and Washington state will now be closing state-run liquor stores in favor of allowing such large stores as Costco to take on alcohol sales.

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