This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Before the break, our question of the day asked you if there is any circumstance in which you w ould vote to raise your taxes? 11 percent said yes and 89 percent of you said no in our unscientific online poll.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLOYD CIRULI, COLORADO POLLSTER: Well, I think this is a problem for the president. As you know, Colorado is a battleground state. He really needs these nine electoral votes if he's gonna get to 270. Almost all of the campaign experts and the pundits say that Colorado is in that mix. And this election was all about how terrible this economy is. That's what drove these anti-tax votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: There is an election on Tuesday in Colorado, a ballot issue called Proposition 103. It was about increasing taxes for education in the state of Colorado, and it failed. Voting no, 63.5 percent as you can see here, 36 percent said yes.
And then you go to the Wall Street Journal and they were wrapping this up today, saying "Colorado's antitax move was equally clear at the local level. The Denver post reports that 'Aurora voters rejected a $114 million tax increase for recreation centers. Douglas Country voters said 'no' to school tax increases, and Canyon City voters rejected a tax for library improvements.' The paper called the overall results 'a killing field of tax measures.'"
You look at the swing states, you heard that analyst say Colorado is important, and it is for both side, and there are seven key swing states most analysts are looking at, right there Colorado with nine electoral votes. We're back with the panel. Steve, what about this?
HAYES: Well, look, I would be thrilled if I thought Colorado were some kind of indicator of national sentiment. And to some extent when I think you're talking about the growth of government generally and what government is doing, it could because. But there is a cautionary note here too, because if the tax measures -- anti-tax measures failed in Arizona in Oregon in the last couple of years despite the rise of the Tea Party and this growing sort of anti-government growth sentiment in the country. In Washington, however, there was a campaign to defeat --
BAIER: Washington state.
HAYES: -- Washington state, to defeat 1098. Which was an income tax hike on the very rich, precisely the kind of thing President Obama is floating right now. And when the polling on that started it was at 66-29 I believe. And it ended up going down, this proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy, in almost the same exact numbers as the Colorado initiatives. So you have mixed records, I think. I don't know that it's any kind of a national trend, despite the fact I think it would be good for the country if it were.
BAIER: In Colorado back in 2008, A.B., President Obama carried that state, and of course the convention was held there, in Denver. He carried it 52.9 percent over John McCain. It is seen as a swing state, and the fact that there is this, at least indication in Colorado that the raising taxes issue is not selling, yet that is what the president is talking about when he travels around the country.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: That is true. And I don't think that the people who raise 63 percent of them, who voted against raising taxes to improve public education in Colorado don't want public education to be improved. I don't think they were voting because they think that the government is too big. I think they were voting that way because the economy is terrible and they want to keep their money in their pockets and they can't afford to hand out more of their income in taxes. And that's what I think they are reacting to.
I don't think it was actually a move against public education. I think that most people in this country, particularly in swing states, feel that we need to dramatically improve and invest in public education. And I think that there is a lot of concern among swing voters about the growth of government.
But I don't think that -- there are majorities in polling across this country for taxing the wealthiest and sun-setting their tax cuts. There are majorities for plenty of the president's proposals -- economic proposal. But I think that this is another sign that there is not the political will among people who are hurting to start taking a whack and investing in things that we can't afford. Nor is there the will to cut back at services they still deem essential.
BAIER: I mean, Chuck, that's a good caveat. The president has framed it as taxing the wealthy and the upper tier, and there are different parts of that proposal, obviously, in the different bills that he's talking about. But is there a concern about growing government, do you think, that goes beyond Colorado that we could see?
CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think the thing that should worry the president about this result. Is that it's a kind of a rejection of a basic tenet of the Democratic Party, which is if you are going to spend money and raise taxes for anything, it should be education, because that's a good investment. That helps you grow the economy that kind of pays for itself through the long run. And you know, they've rejected that -- they've rejected that in Colorado. And it is a swing state, it is an important area for them.
I think probably the more important referendum, I keep coming back to that on this show is coming up in Ohio. Next week, they are going to vote on John Kasich's package of reforms to the collective bargaining system there. And that's another swing state twice as big as Colorado. And if the Democrats win there, as predicted, it could be as significant as this one in Colorado.
BAIER: Well, the other vote in Ohio is about going off of Obamacare, getting off the federal health care law.
BAIER: Which is -- you talk about swing states, that's a big swing state.
Another vote next Tuesday in Mississippi, Steve. Should the state be allowed to use eminent domain to take private property for economic development? It's a fascinating mix.
HAYES: It is a fascinating mix because it's something that sharply divides conservatives as the piece that we played earlier suggests, with Governor Barbour saying we need to do this for economic development, and we have the Farm Bureau saying, no, this is a fundamental right.
I believe that property rights are the -- property rights is the fundamental right, sort of natural right in the United States, natural right sort of in a philosophical way. And once you start to abridge those kinds of rights for what might be short-term political expediency or economic development, you are really starting to attack, I think, the basic foundations of our entire political system, not to overstate it. So I think it's fundamentally crucial that this thing, that we scale back the kind of abuse of eminent domain that you have. And it is true, as Governor Barbour suggests, that this really will have no effect, then why is he afraid of it passing?
BAIER: Well, that was very restrained. A.B.?
STODDARD: Well, ya know, it is an issue that really is dividing conservatives, but an issue that divides everybody. Haley Barbour is siding with Donald Trump and against the Club for Growth and his other conservative friends because he is desperate to attract large, successful corporations to his state where unemployment is 10.6 percent. And that is an understandable goal.
At the same time, obviously, Steve is right. No one ever thought in the United States of America that some company could come in and get the state to wrestle your property from you in order to give it away to them. So it is a very, very tough, tough issue, but at that level of unemployment it will be interesting to see the results.
BAIER: Quickly, 10 seconds.
LANE: Well, I think we've got to remember, these people would be paid for the land. It wouldn't just be taken from them. But this is all about the government taking from one business interest to give to another. The farmers have plenty of money and they get plenty of subsidies form the government too. And, ya know, I'm not sure whether there's a net public benefit one way or the other.
BAIER: We will cover all of these ballot initiatives Tuesday, election night. We have an 11:00 p.m. ET special wrapping it all up. We'll have updates throughout the night.
That's it for this panel, but stay tuned to see behind-the-scenes footage of a dinner with the president last week.
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