As the election results become clear, state think tanks across the country are providing important insights on ballot initiatives, election integrity, and the impact the election will have on key policy issues important to Americans and their families. If you are an SPN member and have an update you’d like us to include, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (all submissions are subject to SPN approval).
- The Center of the American Experiment announced Bill Walsh is joining the team as Communications Director. Walsh most recently held the position of Director of Public Affairs for the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus, leading the caucus’s strategic message development and delivery. Prior to joining the Senate, Walsh worked for twenty years in a variety of political and communications positions with the Minnesota House, the Republican Party of Minnesota, and as Director of Communications for two different state agencies in the Pawlenty Administration.
This Week on SPN.org
- Thanks to the Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois residents defeated the progressive income tax, a measure that would have allowed state lawmakers to divide taxpayers into smaller groups and tax as they saw fit. The Illinois Governor spent $58 million to pass the measure. IPI noted granting more taxing authority to Illinois politicians was not “fair,” nor was it the answer to Illinois’ fiscal woes. IPI also noted that lawmakers can now get serious about pension reform.
- Independence Institute’s income tax cut, Proposition 116, passed in Colorado. The measure will reduce the tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%. Independence noted they launched Proposition 116 because Coloradans deserve a tax cut to make up for the countless tax increases they have experienced without their consent.
- Michigan residents approved a constitutional amendment that requires a search warrant to access a person’s electronic data and electronic communications. In a recent op-ed, the Mackinac Center and Libertas Institute noted that by passing this proposal, Michigan can bring digital privacy into the 21st century.
Solutions from the states:
This week’s policy briefs
Big Government, Big Price Tag: More Spending = Higher Taxes For North Carolinians
John Locke Foundation
A Student-Centered Funding Roadmap for Policymakers
Texas Virtual Education Opportunities Should Be Extended for Districts and Families
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Election analysis from the
- The Goldwater Institute encouraged Arizona voters to reject Proposition 208, a measure that purports to support K-12 education in the Grand Canyon State, but in reality would create a massive tax hike that will eliminate thousands of jobs. Although not all precincts are reported, the measure is expected to pass. However, Goldwater did note there is reason for optimism: “Prop 208 is constitutionally dubious at best, with significant flaws that are ripe for legal challenges—so that fight is far from lost.”
- The John Locke Foundation noted Tuesday was a good night for bonds and booze. Several North Carolina counties approved bonds for schools, affordable housing, and other infrastructure improvement projects. Small towns also warmed up to the idea of alcohol sales.
- After 74 percent of Mississippi voters approved a medical marijuana initiative, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy explained how the program will work. Mississippi will soon become the 35th state with a medical marijuana program.
- The Pacific Research Institute provided a quick breakdown of the results of California’s ballot propositions.
- The Pelican Institute shared the groups across Louisiana that are voicing their support for Constitutional Amendment 4, a measure that would put a strong cap on spending. The amendment did not end up passing.
- Massachusetts voters approved Question 1, an initiative that requires car manufacturers to provide vehicle diagnostic data to consumers and independent mechanic shops. The Reason Foundation noted this is a resounding victory for property rights—consumers should have the right to control the data created by the products they own, including cars.
- The Tax Foundation is tracking 2020 state and local tax ballot measure results. Take a look at the latest updates here.
- Civitas Institute explained why the Electoral College is great no matter who wins.
- On The Learning Curve podcast, the Pioneer Institute hosted nationally recognized author Tara Ross to discuss the importance of the Electoral College.
Election process and integrity
- The Commonwealth Foundation highlighted Pennsylvania’s chaotic mail-in voting process.
Future policy implications of Election 2020
- Center of the American Experiment argued the effect of the president’s deregulation will last regardless of the election outcome.
- The Pacific Research Institute provided a preview of some of the big policy issues that the president will have to confront over the next four years.
- On the Next Round podcast, the Pacific Research Institute discussed what the national election trends mean for California, analyzed the results of the big state ballot propositions, and explored how Tuesday’s results impact the California Governor’s budget balancing efforts.
- On the Hubwonk podcast, the Pioneer Institute considered the healthcare policy implications of Election 2020.
- As the election results continue to come in, the Tax Education Foundation of Iowa dove into potential changes to our healthcare system.
- The John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke reacted to conservative wins in North Carolina judicial races.
- With the return of fiscally conservative majorities to the North Carolina House and Senate, the John Locke Foundation noted North Carolinians have given a thumbs-up to spending restraint and tax reforms enacted over the past decade.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs pointed out school choice supporters gained legislative seats in the Oklahoma Legislature.
- The Palmetto Promise Institute shared South Carolina’s election results and noted all signs appear to point to a strong 2020 General Election for Republicans in the state.
- The Rio Grande Foundation shared initial thoughts on the 2020 election in New Mexico.
Voter education initiatives
- Alabama Policy Institute explained the statewide constitutional amendments in plain language to help voters make informed decisions.
- Illinois Policy Institute reminded Illinois voters they can register and vote on Election Day.
- The James Madison Institute released a 2020 amendment guide for Florida voters.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation recommended policies that would ensure that voters understand their rights and the rules of voting.
- The Beacon Center of Tennessee considered if the election indicates that Tennessee is the next best haven.
- California Policy Center noted there isn’t much good news coming out of the state.
- As the country prepares for potential civil unrest after the election, John Phelan, an economist at the Center of the American Experiment, shared an important quote from Thomas Jefferson: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”
- The Commonwealth Foundation shared key issues to remember as Pennsylvania counts its ballots.
- Georgia Center for Opportunity President Randy Hicks shared an encouraging statement on the 2020 election results. Hicks noted the role of government is important, but the most impactful changes occur in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities.
- To maintain law and order, the Civitas Institute encouraged people to vote on judges and finish their ballot.
- Despite unconfirmed election results, Empire Center noted one thing is clear: The New York Governor has to get serious about balancing the state’s budget.
- The John Locke Foundation shared a National Review piece that explores the motivations of some angry voters.
- On the Free to Offend podcast, the Nevada Policy Research Institute noted voting is not a civic duty.
- The Show-Me Institute noted Election Day is a great day for civics education. Show-Me encouraged teachers to explain how our American system diffuses power both horizontally (among the branches of government) and vertically (among the federal, state, and local governments) so that no one group is ever entirely in control.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation noted that even with the challenges we face in this election cycle, the American spirit and our institutions remain strong.
Think tanks in the news
- Center of the American Experiment outlined seven energy and environment takeaways from the Minnesota elections.
- In The Philadelphia Inquirer, Commonwealth Foundation Vice President Jennifer Stefano noted she believes America’s brightest days are ahead.
- Now that the election is over, the Ethan Allen Institute considered what the governor and next legislature in Vermont are likely to face.
- The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board cited the Goldwater Institute’s work on Proposition 208, the initiative that would impose a 3.5% surtax on incomes above $250,000 in Arizona.
- The John Locke Foundation noted Democrats threw away their shot in North Carolina.
- In National Review, the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy argued both parties have come to believe that the system is rigged in favor of the other.
- Nevada Policy Research Institute pointed out the election won’t fix what’s wrong with 2020.
- In The American Conservative, the Pacific Research Institute noted that if Joe Biden is elected, he may be one of the most corrupt people ever to assume the office.
- In the Des Moines Register, the Tax Education Foundation of Iowa noted Iowans voted for what they want: conservative values and pro-growth policies.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation considered what long voting lines actually mean.
Events & Opportunities
Analyzing Election 2020
John Locke Foundation | November 9, 2020
CRI Virtual Discussion with Best-Selling Author and Lawyer Philip Howard
Caesar Rodney Institute | November 10, 2020