Betting the Election

Polls are fine in trying to determine potential election results but the smart money may be a better barometer of election outcomes. Smart money is a term used in professional sports betting for the bettors who do better research and supposedly have better knowledge of the field in which they bet on the outcomes. And, yes, bets are taken on political results.

So what’s the smart money say on some California political races. The website Sports Betting Experts has odds on some California races. The sharps laying odds are on the obvious side of a number of races in the Golden State: That Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump in California; that Kamala Harris will capture the U.S. Senate seat; that marijuana legalization will pass.

Two other positions the smart money chose may not be as clear according to polls.

The betting website is laying odds that Proposition 60, the condom requirement for adult films will be defeated. The moneyline sets the Yes side +145. In other words, risking $100 would bring you $145 if Prop 60 passes. The No side moneyline is -185. A bettor would have to risk $185 to win $100.

The website also sides with congressional incumbent Republican Darrell Issa in his hotly contested race with Democrat Doug Applegate. A hundred dollar bet will win you $175 if Applegate wins the upset; but you must risk $250 to win $100 if Issa prevails.

Consequences of Overlapping Federal and State Tax Laws

Federal law combined with state law can produce interesting consequences. Much has been made of the fact that federal law prohibits the use of marijuana even if Proposition 64 passes legalizing the weed in the Golden State. But there also could be consequences for some taxpayers and the state budget if a couple of issues contested in this election overlap.

Proposition 55 wants to extend income taxes on the wealthy. Opponents and proponents of that measure have argued over the conjecture that some of the rich will leave the state if Prop 55 passes. While there has been anecdotal evidence that some taxpayers did leave after Prop 30 jacked up the tax rates, critics say there have been only a few instances of that occurring.

A counter argument has been that wealthy taxpayers were willing to sit out the temporary tax. However, if Prop 55 extends that tax another 12 years, more wealthy taxpayers will pack up and leave.

A complicating issue is the stand taken by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She has been clear in her desire to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for some of the programs she is championing. If she is elected, and if she is successful in convincing congress to pass higher income taxes, and if Prop 55 passes, California high-end taxpayers will face a double whammy.

What would these top income taxpayers do? Leave the country? Probably not. More likely to lower their tax burdens they just may move away from California. What might that mean for the state budget’s bottom line?