California voters rejected ballot measures that would legalize and tax marijuana sales, while Washington State voters defeated a proposal to impose a tax on upper-income taxpayers, and Massachusetts voters said no to a ballot question that would have lowered state sales taxes.

The tax measures were among many that voters had to consider alongside the many candidates jockeying for a term in office. In California, voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have legalized the growth and use of marijuana for recreational use. Taxes on marijuana sales were estimated to raise $1.4 billion (see California Weighs Revenue from Marijuana Tax). California voters also rejected a separate ballot measure, Proposition 24, that would have eliminated some corporate tax breaks passed by the legislature last year.


In Washington State, voters also defeated Initiative Measure 1098, which would have levied a 5 percent tax on earnings above $200,000 and a 9 percent tax on earnings above $500,000 while reducing state property taxes by 20 percent and getting rid of a tax imposed on many small businesses. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and his father Bill Gates Sr. had both supported the ballot initiative, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen supported a successful campaign to defeat 1098 (see Gates vs. Ballmer on Washington State Income Tax).

Massachusetts voters rejected a ballot question that would have cut the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent. However, they said yes to a separate question that exempted alcohol from the 6.25 percent sales tax.

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