Ted S. Warren/AP
Cindy Black, right, and Jill Hill park a car
with a giant apple on top that promotes a "yes" vote on I-522 in
Washington state — which would require genetically engineered foods to
be labeled as such — on Oct. 17 in Tacoma, Wash.
Aside from the two high-profile governors' races, there's plenty of political action to be found on statewide ballots Tuesday.
A total of ,
concerning issues ranging from education to gambling to marijuana, will
go before voters in six different states — Colorado, Maine, New Jersey,
New York, Texas and Washington.
That's down slightly from the average of about 42 measures in 9 states in odd-numbered years, according to Ballotpedia.
of the ballot measures are more interesting than others — and may have
broader national implications. Here are five to keep an eye on:
Colorado: School Financing
66 would raise income taxes by $950 million per year to provide the
necessary funding for the implementation of a new public school
The main campaign supporting the tax hike recently received a combined
from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Microsoft founder Bill
Gates and his wife Melinda. Groups supporting the measure have raised
more than $10.4 million, while organizations in opposition .
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Colorado Democratic Gov. John
Hickenlooper and some of the state's top teachers' unions also back the
initiative. Duncan said that "if voters pass Amendment 66, Colorado will
become the educational model for every state to follow."
and other tax opponents argue the measure will hurt families and small
businesses, and that a funding boost won't guarantee a more effective
Colorado: Marijuana Tax
year after Colorado voters approved the legalization of recreational
marijuana use, they must now decide if they want to tax it.
AA would impose a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana sales to help fund
the construction of new schools and an additional 10 percent sales tax,
which will pay for regulation and enforcement. If the measure passes,
the state's fiscal analysts project it could bring in $70 million
The proposition has the support of Hickenlooper, the
state's Republican attorney general and many members of the legal
marijuana industry. But some marijuana advocates are against the
measure, arguing that pot should taxed at a lower rate, similar to
Washington state also legalized the recreational use
of marijuana last year and included language placing a 25 percent excise
tax on all pot sales in its ballot measure.
Washington: Genetically-Modified Food Labeling
voters approve Initiative 522, Washington would become the first state
in the country to require manufacturers to clearly label food made with
genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Some major food and beverage companies have fought hard against the ballot initiative. The "No on 522" campaign has ,
the most money ever in favor of or in opposition to a ballot measure in
the state. Half of that has come from the Grocery Manufacturers
Association, an industry trade group whose members include Coca-Cola,
PepsiCo and Nestle. Supporters of the initiative have raised about $8.4
Most prominent Republicans in the state have joined
with the packaged foods industry in opposition to the initiative, while
Democrats generally favor it.
A similar measure appeared on the ballot in California last year, but voters narrowly shot it down.
New Jersey: Minimum Wage Increase
Jersey voters appear poised to adopt a constitutional amendment that
raises the minimum wage by one dollar to $8.25 per hour and increases it
annually based on the rate of inflation.
Currently, just four
other states have adopted a constitutional provision regarding the
minimum wage, while 10 states have policies in place that raise it
automatically. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but President
Obama to $9 earlier this year.
Republican Gov. Chris
Christie, who vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage in January,
opposes the measure, as do a coalition of business groups. Meanwhile,
Christie's opponent in Tuesday's gubernatorial election, Barbara Buono,
newly minted Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, and labor unions have thrown
their support behind it.
New York: Gambling
different ballot measures will appear on the New York ballot Tuesday,
including a constitutional amendment the legislature approved that would
allow for the construction of up to seven new casinos in the state.
only gambling currently permitted in New York takes place at casinos
owned by the Oneida Indian Nation and "racinos," which are combinations
of horse race tracks and casinos.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo
is a top supporter of the measure, which has also won the backing of
business and labor groups. The gambling industry has over the past several years lobbying the state to expand the number of casinos in the state.
argue the plan will spur economic growth, provide more school funding
and allow local governments to lower property taxes. But some opponents
are skeptical of its economic potential, while others worry about the
social problems casinos could bring.