Vote split on ballot issues; bond proposals bat .500

Citizen-launched proposals for changes in state constitutions and laws fared poorly on Nov. 3 ballots. Only two of the six measures in the initiative petition crop appear to have won voter approval.

At the same time, close to three-quarters of various lawmaker-backed referenda, including at least 11 of some 17 bond measures in six states, came through with flying colors.

Borrowing totaling $1.32 billion was approved. Another $1.29 billion for special projects was turned down by voters. And the outcome of a proposed $500 million bond proposal for prison construction in New York State is in doubt, with near final tallies showing ''no'' votes slightly ahead.

Both initiative petition victories came in Washington state, where measures to wipe out the state inheritance tax and require voter approval of all future bonds for public power projects were passed. Washington voters also authorized $ 48.1 million in housing bonds and the borrowing of $7 million for prison construction.

Supporters of tax credits for private school tuition tested the waters in the District of Columbia - and found them icy cold. So-called ''Initiative 7,'' which would have given parents up to $2,500 off on their local taxes, was trounced by a 9-to-1 margin.

Defeat had been expected, since virtually every public official and labor union in the district opposed it, charging that tax credits for private tuition should destroy the public schools and cost jobs.

A nationwide proposal for giving parents up to $500 in tuition tax relief is now awaiting action on Capitol Hill, where it has the support of the Reagan administration but has been delayed indefinitely by efforts to control the federal budget.

Maine voters spurned by a wide margin a citizen-sponsored proposal to replace the state's appointed public utilities commission with an elected state energy commission.

Ohio voters rejected initiatives to provide a commission to handle legislative and congressional redistricting and to let private insurance firms compete for workmen's compensation coverage in the state.

In Kentucky, voters said ''no'' to a constitutional change allowing governors to seek a second consecutive four-year term. A second proposal to extend the state's homestead exemption to the disabled was approved.

Pennsylvania voters OK'd a constitutional amendment involving changes in the legislative reapportionment process, while rejecting cost of living benefit increases for survivors of retired state workers. The fate of a third measure to commit net proceeds from the state excise tax on aviation fuels to airport-related projects was uncertain at press time.

Pennsylvanians also approved state borrowing of up to $300 million for water projects and $15 million in bonds to aid fire departments and other emergency services in the purchase of equipment and improvement of their facilities.

In neighboring New Jersey, five constitutional changes were approved, including ones restricting the governor's veto and authorizing the use of the state's casino gambling revenues for home heating assistance. Those revenues already give property tax relief to the elderly and disabled. Voter also approved bonds for water supply, hazardous waste disposal, and farmland preservation projects.

New York voters, while split on the prison construction funding question, approved a $150 million bond to bankroll a job development program.

Balloting in Maine included approval of three constitutional changes, which will reduce the timetable for initiative petitions, modify residency requirements for candidates for state representative, and reduce the bonding authorization for the Maine School Building Authority.

Maine votes also approved three of five proposed bond authorizations. The bonds involve highway construction, energy conservation, and development of a new port facility by Bath Iron Works in Portland. Voters turned down proposals for parks development and public broadcasting facilities.

Texans will allow cities to issue bonds for renewal projects, exempt livestock and poultry as property for tax purposes, and permit homestead exemptions for elderly. They turned down a water bond trust fund and creation of a seven-member state financial management commission.

Bonding proposals for public transportation projects in Rhode Island and highways in West Virginia were defeated.

Columbia, Mo., became the first city in the nation to approve a measure requiring deposits on all beverage containers. Six states have such laws on their books.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.