This year, parents have more freedom to make the best decisions about where their children can go to school. Despite fierce opposition from teacher unions, school choice saw important gains in several states including Georgia and Washington. In Georgia, citizens voted to approve Constitutional Amendment 1, allowing for charter schools in the state. Washington similarly passed a referendum to support charter schools. In addition, Arizona expanded its school choice programs.
All of these will put the next generation on a path to success by tailoring education to meet each child’s needs, interests, and abilities. Unable to win in the public arena, teacher unions are now in court in Indiana and Louisiana attempting to overturn common sense school choice legislation that passed with broad support. Most likely, they will fail and children and parents will be the big winner.
Tax increases were also rejected in many states. In Tennessee and Indiana voters overturned the dreaded death tax. Citizens in Florida convinced their state legislature to kill a bill that would have imposed an internet sales tax, saving residents money every time they buy online. Furthermore this year, Kansas passed historic tax reform that represents the largest tax cut in history of the state.
There were other victories that allow more hard earned dollars to stay in our wallets. In Arizona voters ensured that a temporary tax increase will finally expire, and Oklahoma citizens voted to both cap property taxes and repeal an intangible property tax. Washington state also passed an initiative that requires a two thirds majority to raise taxes. Such a majority will help ensure that tax hikes are a last resort, rather than the only option.
While the lame duck Congress debates a budget deal filled with looming tax hikes, it should take a message from each of these states; Americans do not want increased taxes. Economists agree - hiking taxes in a weak economy is one of the worst things to do.