The 'ayes' and 'nays' in state referendums

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Tax-choppers and backers of US military involvement in Central America can take little comfort from voters' responses to 1984 ballot proposals. In Ohio, initiative petitions on the ballot would have wiped out $650 million in levy boosts - including a 90 percent hike in the state personal-income tax enacted early this year - and made it harder for lawmakers to impose new increases. They were rejected.

At the same, voters approved lawmaker-launched borrowing measures in at least six states and several cities, including Cleveland.

Also passed were citizen-sponsored initiatives in Boulder, Colo., San Francisco, and Seattle, stating opposition to American military intervention in El Salvador.

Recommended: Default

Voters in four Connecticut towns - Ellington, Rockville, Tolland, and Vernon - and in Concord, N.H., said ''yes'' to similar nonbinding proposals urging the Reagan administration to press for a US-Soviet nuclear arms freeze.

Considerably less successful, however, was a ballot-proposed ordinance in Cambridge, Mass., aimed at making that city a nuclear-free zone and banning such research and development projects there. When the long process of counting paper ballots was completed Friday afternoon, the controversial initiative had been defeated nearly 3 to 2 (see story, Page 7).

Ohio voters handed Democratic Gov. Richard Celeste a major victory in their solid rejection of the Ohio tax rollback plan and a proposed constitutional amendment that would have made it more difficult to pass future revenue increases.

Also clobbered by Ohioans was a third initiative aimed at boosting the state's minimum drinking age for beer from 19 to 21, the minimum for all other forms of liquor.

An initiative petition in Maine that would have banned moose hunting similarly fell, by a 3-to-2 margin. Proponents, who were considerably outspent by the opposition, maintained that even with a limited hunting season of only a few days a year, the moose will become an endangered animal.

Substantially more successful were backers of a Washington, D.C., initiative petition hoping to spare the Rhodes Tavern, a dilapidated historic landmark, from the wrecker's ball. The ballot measure, while nonbinding, urges rehabilitation of the one-time inn, built in 1799, for a useful purpose.

In addition to passing the El Salvador measure, San Francisco citizens went on record by a wide margin against bilingual election ballots across the nation. The city's voters also endorsed a municipal ordinance requiring employers to provide separate areas for nonsmokers at their workplaces.

New state bonding proposals totaling nearly $3 billion won approval on Nov. 8 ballots. They cover a variety of projects ranging from veterans housing in Alaska to the purchase of lands for conservation in New Jersey.

The largest of these bond authorizations was $1.25 billion for transportation improvements in New York State. The smallest, amounting to $720,000, was for state courthouse improvements in Maine.

Voters in Maine, who also said yes to two other bonding packages - one for bridge and highway construction and the other for various port facility improvements - did reject a borrowing proposal to provide $21.1 million for various construction ventures, including expanded corrections facilities. And while they were at it, the state's voters also gave thumbs down to the granting of property tax exemptions for watercraft.

Besides the transportation bond package, New York voters endorsed seven measures, including a plan to allow thrift institutions to raise capital through selling stocks.

New Jersey voters approved state debt refinancing, the temporary transfer of juvenile- and family-court judges to superior courts, and an increase in the amount of time in which the governor can sign or reject legislation.

Texans approved $800 million for veterans housing assistance and nine other ballot measures, but spurned a plan to provide property-tax exemptions for veterans and fraternal organizations.

Three constitutional amendments ratified by Louisiana voters included a requirement that the state return property to its original owners which was taken by eminent domain but is no longer needed for public purposes.

One of two constitutional amendments ratified through the Mississippi ballot authorized the leasing of up to three acres of public-owned school land to a church for up to 99 years, for educational or recreational purposes.

Creation of a special commission for congressional and legislative redistricting was approved, 3 to 2, by Washington State voters.

State bond proposals for transportation and for water-resource projects and prisons were authorized in Rhode Island.

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