2020 State Ballot Measure Guide: Fate of Billions of Taxpayer Dollars, Future of Elections, at Stake

Americans for Tax Reform Releases 2020 State Ballot Measure Guide Highlighting Threats & Opportunities for Taxpayers on Election Day

Today, Americans for Tax Reform released the organization’s 2020 State Ballot Measure Guide, which covers key state-level ballot measures, initiatives, and amendments that will impact America’s taxpayers. The guide is available at ATR.org/ballotguide.

“The fate of billions of taxpayer dollars is on the line through state ballot measures and amendments, and Americans need to know what they are voting on before they go to the polls,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. “Left-wing activists, tax-and-spend elected officials, and even Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden have backed measures that will take billions of dollars away from hard working families, and permanently tilt the playing field toward more taxes and spending.”

A series of significant tax increase proposals lead the slate as Californians consider a $12 billion property tax hike, voters in Illinois and Arizona decide on huge income tax hikes, and Arkansans will face a regressive sales tax increase. Misguided tax hikes aimed at vaping in Colorado and Oregon would hurt vape shops, and consumers of these products, risking harm to the economy and public health.

Taxpayers do have opportunities to better protect their wallets with tax relief proposals in Colorado and Florida, and stronger limits on spending in Louisiana.

ATR’s guide analyzes 20 measures in 14 states, the most significant measures include:

Huge tax hikes

  • Californians will decide on a $12 billion property tax hike in Proposition 15 that has been endorsed by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the state Democratic Party.
  • Arizonans face Proposition 208, a controversial measure that would increase their top marginal income tax rate by 77.7% – crushing small business owners, and giving the state one of the 10 highest tax rates in the nation.
  • Illinois could repeal the state’s constitutional flat tax requirement, opening the door to massive tax increases now, and in the future, if voters don’t reject this amendment.
  • Arkansas Issue 1 would permanently extend a sales tax hike that was previously sold as temporary.

Pro-taxpayer measures

  • Coloradans have the chance to reduce their income tax burden by approving Proposition 116.
  • Colorado voters can also approve Proposition 117, which requires voter approval for fee increases over $100 million – ending a loophole that allowed the use of fees to get around the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
  • Louisianans can implement a strong expenditure limitation that ties spending growth to personal income, GDP, population, and inflation, with a hard cap of 5%.  
  • Florida voters can buy themselves extra time to transfer a benefit limiting property tax growth for their primary residence by approving Amendment 5.



  • Nevada voters will determine the fate of Question 6, which would demand the state’s utilities produce 50% of their energy via renewable sources by the year 2030. This arbitrary high standard will likely lead to higher energy costs, and have Nevada following the disastrous path of California
  • Alaska Ballot Measure 1 would tax the goose that laid the golden egg through a complex set of tax hikes on north slope oil production.


Election turmoil

  • Massachusetts will decide on “ranked-choice voting”, a complicated system that allows for a candidate who received the most votes on election day to lose in the end.
  • Florida Amendment 3 is so radical both the Democratic and Republican parties oppose it. It would overturn the current primary system, replacing it with an open primary for candidates from all parties where the top two candidates advance to the general election.
  • Alaska Ballot Measure 2 includes ranked-choice voting, and an open primary system, and a free-speech-chilling requirement that would expose campaign contributor’s personal information.


Improving criminal justice

  • Oklahoma voters can improve public safety, and save taxpayer dollars, if they approve State Question 805 to end sentence enhancements for nonviolent offenses.
  • Michigan Proposal 2 would constitutionally require authorities obtain a warrant to access your personal electronic data and communications, a boost for privacy and due process.


Vaping tax increases

  • Colorado Proposition EE is a massive $276 million tax on tobacco and vaping, and Oregon Measure 108 is a $160 million tax on tobacco and vaping. These regressive tax hikes are also harmful to local small businesses and people using alternatives to smoking.

Aside from direct tax policy, taxpayers will want to study up on election system proposals that are so radical both Democrats and Republicans oppose them. Ideas like ranked-choice voting, and jungle primaries threaten to cause turmoil in Florida, Massachusetts, and Alaska. Additionally, with Tom Steyer’s renewable portfolio standard mandate on the ballot, Nevada will decide whether to follow California further down the path of expensive, unreliable energy.  

“Taxpayers need to show up and vote like their future depends on it, because it does,” added Norquist. “The worst measures on the ballot would take more of people’s money, drive up their cost of living, and make it more difficult to speak out and hold politicians accountable.”