Recent Popular Votes to Oppose/Repeal Tax Increases

Published November 1, 2004


  • Proposal to weaken California’s tough, two-thirds supermajority requirement to raise taxes would have led to billions in new taxes.
  • March 2, 2004–Voters defeated the measure by a vote of 63.5 percent to 34.5 percent.

Killington, Vermont

  • Under a 1997 state supreme court ruling, the small ski resort town of Killington (pop. 1,000), considered property-rich, had to pay large amounts of property tax to the state while receiving little state aid in return.
  • March 2, 2004–At a town meeting of 200-300 people, the town’s residents voted overwhelmingly by voice vote (estimated at two-thirds plus) to secede from Vermont and petition New Hampshire to take them in. Town officials are now preparing to make that petition.


  • $800 million-$1 billion tax increase passed by bipartisan legislature and signed by Democrat governor to fund budget deficit and to avoid cuts for schools, nursing homes, etc.
  • 140,000+ signatures collected to repeal the tax–nearly three times as many as needed.
  • February 3, 2004–Voters across the state, including in urban centers (Portland), decided 60 percent to 40 percent to repeal the tax.


  • Years of fiscal profligacy by Gov. Gray Davis (D) climaxed in his tripling of the car tax, raising roughly $4 billion.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger ran on a no-new-taxes platform with a promise to repeal the car tax on his first day in office.
  • October 7, 2003–Californians voted 55.4 percent to 44.6 percent to recall Davis.


  • $1.2 billion increase proposed by Republican governor to fund budget deficit and pay for new education programs.
  • September 9, 2003–Alabamans voted 68 percent to 32 percent to oppose the tax increase, which was rejected by every demographic group.


  • Residents and visitors alike were asked to pay a 10 cent tax on every espresso drink in order to fund “early childhood initiatives”–$1.8 to $3.5 million, perhaps as much as $7 million.
  • September 16, 2003–Voters defeated the measure by a vote of 77 percent to 23 percent.


  • Referendum to raise the sales tax by half a cent in generally liberal Northern Virginia, in order to fund road construction–measure would have raised $5 billion.
  • November 5, 2002–Virginians voted against the tax increase by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin in Northern Virginia, and en even wider margin in the Tidewater area. In urban districts, the vote was evenly split.

Compiled by Paul Prososki, state government affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.