While everyone is focused on whether Republicans will win control of the House and/or Senate, there are several issues that voters will directly decide that deserve close attention. Here are the nine initiatives that have caught my attention. I’m probably missing some important ones, so feel free to add suggestions in the comment section.
1. Imposing an income tax in the state of Washington – This is the one I’ll be following very closely. I have a hard time thinking that voters would be dumb enough to impose an income tax, but the Pacific Northwest is a bit crazy on these issues. Oregon voters, for instance, approved higher tax rates earlier this year.
2. Stopping eminent domain abuse in Nevada – This initiative is very simple. It stops the state from seizing private property if the intent is to transfer it to a private party (thus shutting the door that was opened by the Supreme Court’s reprehensible Kelo decision).
3. Marijuana legalization in California – Proponents of a more sensible approach to victimless crimes will closely watch this initiative to see whether Golden State voters will say yes to pot legalization, subject to local regulation.
4. Strengthen rights of gun owners in Kansas – If approved, this initiative would remove any ambiguity about whether individuals have the right to keep and bear arms.
5. Protecting health care freedom in Arizona – For all intents and purposes, this is a referendum on Obamacare. I’m hoping that it will pass overwhelmingly, thus giving a boost to the repeal campaign. There’s apparently a similar initiative in Oklahoma, but it hasn’t gotten as much attention.
6. Reducing benefits for bureaucrats in San Francisco – If one of the craziest, left-wing cities in America decides to require bureaucrats to make meaningful contributions to support their bloated pension and health benefits, that’s a sign that the gravy train may be in jeopardy for bureaucrats all across the nation.
7. Making it easier to increase government spending in California – The big spenders want to get rid of the two-thirds requirement in the state legislature to approve a budget. This would pave the way for even bigger government in a state that already is close to bankruptcy.
8. Reducing the sales tax in Massachusetts – The entire political establishment is fighting this proposal to roll back the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent, and pro-spending lobbies are pouring big money into a campaign against the initiative, so you know it must be a good idea.
9. Controlling benefits for bureaucrats in Louisiana – The initiative would require a two-thirds vote to approve any expansion of taxpayer-financed benefits for government employees.