The 2020 Election’s Impact on the Cleaning Industry

Categories: Management, Regulatory

By Stacy J. Seiden | November 11, 2020 << Back to Articles The 2020 Election’s Impact on the Cleaning Industry

Voters across the country approved at least 85 of 124 ballot measures on Election Day 2020, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Measures get on state ballots in one of two ways—through a citizen initiative, where citizens have an idea for a statutory or constitutional change and gather a sufficient number of signatures to place the initiative on the ballot, or through a referral to the ballot from the legislature. The following is a summary of the outcome of state ballot initiatives from the recent 2020 general election on four key issues important for the cleaning industry, based on the results as of November 11, 2020.


Ballot measures related to taxes were a hot topic this election cycle and results broke in both directions—voters in some states opted for higher taxes and others chose tax deductions. A citizen initiative to reduce the state’s income tax passed in Colorado, while an initiative to increase income taxes on those making more than US$250,000 a year passed in Arizona. The legislative effort in Illinois to remove the state’s flat income tax rate failed. Coloradans also decided to repeal the state’s Gallagher Amendment, which set property tax assessment rates in the state constitution. Additionally, Colorado voters considered a citizen initiative requiring voters to approve the creation of certain fee-based state enterprises that are exempt from the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights—results are close, though the measure appears likely to pass.

In California, Proposition 15, which would tax commercial and industrial properties based on their market value rather than on purchase price, remains too close to call. Arkansans approved the continuation of a 0.5% sales tax to fund transportation and voters in FloridaNew Jersey, and Virginia passed—all with high margins—tax deductions and exemptions for veterans.

Drug legalization

The biggest trend in this election cycle was that every marijuana and drug measure passed. Voters in ArizonaMontanaNew Jersey, and South Dakota approved the legalization of recreational marijuana, while voters in Mississippi and South Dakota approved medical marijuana programs. Washington, D.C. voters decriminalized entheogenic plants and fungi, including psilocybin. Oregonians decriminalized small amounts of certain controlled substances, such as heroin and cocaine, and also legalized psilocybin, becoming the first state ever to do so.


Health topics, including medical marijuana, were popular ballot measures this year as well. Voters approved taxes on tobacco and vapor products in Colorado and Oregon. Coloradans also approved a citizen initiative establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program—the first state in the nation to do so through a ballot measure. Californians rejected a citizen initiative to establish certain requirements for kidney dialysis clinics.

Minimum wage increase

Florida voters chose to raise the minimum wage. Similar measures in the last five years have all passed. According to CMM, more than 60% of registered Florida voters supported the increase to the state’s minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 an hour. Florida became the eighth and second-most populous state to approve the $15 minimum wage, which is estimated to impact 2.5 million workers.

“Recent state ballot initiatives have important implications for our members,” said John Nothdurft, ISSA Director of Government Affairs. “Accordingly, ISSA tracks issues like taxes, drug legalization as related to the topic of labor, healthcare, and minimum wage requirements, as well as advocates on behalf of the full spectrum of the cleaning industry on these issues at the state level.” Please consider supporting the ISSA Advocacy Fund in any amount to help us continue to make an impact throughout the 50 states on the critical public policies affecting our industry.

For questions regarding ISSA advocacy, including recent state ballot measures, please contact John Nothdurft, ISSA Director of Government Affairs.

About the Author.

Stacy J. Seiden is the government affairs coordinator for ISSA. Please contact her at [email protected] for questions about National Cleaning Week and any other ISSA advocacy-related questions you may have.