Results of State Referenda Related to Higher Education

November 02, 2010

Voters in a dozen states weighed in on ballot measures on Tuesday that could affect higher-education policy or colleges' bottom lines. Here's how those measures are faring, based on incomplete results:


Bonding Proposition B Bonding Proposition B would authorize the state to issue about $380-million in bonds. Of that amount, $80-million would be used to build a new sports arena at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, and $108.6-million would be used for science classrooms and lab facilities at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
Proposition 107 Proposition 107 would ban preferential treatment on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, and color in education, public employment, and contracting.
Proposition 101 Proposition 101 would reduce the state-sales tax, restructure vehicle-ownership fees, and halt government charges on telecommunication services.
Amendment 60 Amendment 60 would roll back some property-tax hikes and make several changes in how these taxes can be increased.
Amendment 61 Amendment 61 would prohibit state and local governments from taking on new debts without voter approval, eliminating the state's authority to issue bonds to provide money for college-construction projects.
SJR 101 SJR 101 would amend the state's Constitution to allow the University of Idaho to charge tuition. The university is allowed to charge fees, which cannot be used for instructional purposes. Idaho's other universities have been able to charge tuition since 2005.
HJR 4 HJR 4 would allow public-medical facilities, including university hospitals, to take on debt to upgrade facilities.
Public Question 1 Public Question 1 would add property-tax caps to the Indiana Constitution, limiting the means by which the state can increase revenue to pay for a variety of services, including higher education.
Amendment 4 Amendment 4, also known as Act 542, would limit annual property-tax increases to 2.5 percent.
Question 2 Question 2 would allow the state to issue $5-million in bonds that would be used for dental health, including $3.5-million for a community-based dental-education clinic associated with a college of dentistry.
Question 3 Question 3 would cut the state's sales-tax rate from 6.25 cents per dollar to 3 cents per dollar. Fiscal analysts predict that the cut would shrink the state's general fund by $2.4-billion, limiting dollars available for colleges and other public agencies.
New Mexico
Amendment 1 Amendment 1 would allow all veterans of the U.S. Armed Services to pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public colleges.
Bond Question D Bond Question D would authorize the state to issue $155-million in bonds that would be used to finance capital improvements at the state's 31 colleges and universities.
Question 744 Question 744 would require the state to spend a minimum amount each year on elementary and secondary schools, based on the average amount spent per student in nearby states. That could limit state funds available for colleges.
Rhode Island
Capital Bonds for Higher Education The Rhode Island Capital Bonds for Higher Education Question would allow the state to issue $61-million in bonds for a new chemistry building at the University of Rhode Island and $17-million to pay for a renovation of the art center at Rhode Island College.
Referred Bill 52 Referred Bill 52 would allow the state to issue $500-million in bonds to renovate and repair education facilities and government buildings.
Initiative Measure 1098 Initiative Measure 1098 would create an income tax for couples who earn more than $400,000 per year and individuals who earn more than $200,000 per year. The measure would also reduce the state's property-tax levy by 20 percent and increase a business tax credit. Revenues from the changes would be earmarked for education and health services.