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Voters approve casinos, marijuana tax in ballot measures

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5 2013 11:25 p.m. MST

Ballot questions and referendums across the United States were highlighted by a range of issues, from marijuana tax to casino construction on Tuesday.

Kathy Kmonicek, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Ballot questions and referendums across the United States were highlighted by a range of issues, from marijuana tax to casino construction on Tuesday.

Colorado had two larger ballot questions, one about raising income taxes to $950 million a year to finance a new public school system, according to NPR. If passed, Amendment 66 would "inject $950 million of new money into K-12 education by changing the state income tax from a flat rate of 4.63 percent to a two-tiered arrangement. The first $75,000 of taxable income would be taxed at 5 percent and everything above that threshold at 5.9 percent," according to The Denver Post.

But Amendment 66 went down in defeat Tuesday night, according to The Denver Post, losing by a substantial margin of 66 percent to 34 percent.

The Centennial State did, however, voted to add hefty taxes to marijuana sales, with about a 65 percent of voters in favor of the decision, according to the Associated Press. The taxes will raise money for schools and regulation, according to the AP.

And northern Colorado had its own interesting ballot question this year, in which 11 counties voted on whether to secede from the United States and become the nation’s 51 state, North Colorado. Late Tuesday night, a Denver news affiliate reported the vote was being shot down by a 58 to 42 percent margin. If the ballot did gain support from voters, the democratic legislature “would have to vote to allow them to leave. After that, Congress would have to agree to admit a new state,” the news station reported.

Farther north in Washington, voters could approve a new food labeling system that would require manufacturers “to clearly label food made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs,” according to NPR. Late Tuesday night, Washington voters were striking down the change with 53 percent of patrons voting against the ballot, according to a local Washington Fox station.

Across the country, both New York and New Jersey faced important ballot questions.

In a landmark decision, New York voters approved expanded casino gambling, according to The New York Times, which will authorize as many as seven casinos to aid upstate New York. This came despite heavy opposition for the casino bill.

“The approval is a milestone in the gambling industry’s long, expensive push to tap into the New York market, an effort that has spanned decades, cost tens of millions of dollars and is certain to continue as gambling companies vie for the right to develop the new casinos,” The New York Times reported.

New Jersey voters approved a rise in minimum wage, according to USA Today. The $7.25 minimum rose by $1 to $8.25, and will “add automatic cost-of-living increases each year,” USA Today reported.

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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