Overspending and ballot measures

November 4, 2010

By now you know yesterday Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, had significant gains in the Senate, and now control a majority of Governorships. But what happened with the 2010 ballot measures?

The message voters sent Washington – get spending under control! – was also tested in a few state ballot initiatives. Here are some of the key fiscal ballot measures we were following:

Supermajority gone wild. The fiscally challenged state of California delivered several sweeping procedural changes. The legislature now needs a majority vote to pass a budget as opposed to the two-thirds requirement, and a supermajority is now needed to pass new taxes and fees. A similar supermajority measure was also approved in Washington state.

No to state and local debt limitations. Colorado’s measure to require state and local governments to get voter approval to take on new debt (Amendment 61) failed with 74 percent of the vote.

Balance the budget by cutting spending. In an advisory question, Floridians overwhelmingly (72 percent) supported Congress adopting a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget without raising taxes.

Fuzzy math means more debt. By a slim majority (51 percent to 48 percent), Washington passed a state debt limit amendment allowing the state to pay some of the its interest bills on taxable bonds, which only offsets the interest elsewhere.

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