The midterm elections resulted in the Republican sweep everyone expected. Though the final votes are still being counted, Republicans picked up at least seven seats in the Senate, leaving them in control of the upper chamber. They also picked up as many as 13 seats in the House, increasing their hold on the lower chamber.
That means key leadership positions on committees important to small businesses will change over soon. But on a national level, statewide ballots indicated a sea change for businesses too.
Here's a break out of what happened around the country, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute, a voter research and education organization.
Marijuana: Pot entrepreneurs have something to cheer about today. Voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., voted to approve weed for recreational use. (About half of states already approve its use for medical purposes.) In Florida a referendum to approve recreational marijuana got 58 percent of the vote, but the state requires 60 percent approval to change its constitution.
Minimum Wage: While a federal minimum wage increase has been killed any number of times in recent years, that's not the case in state elections. By an average margin of 26 percent, voters in five states approved minimum wage hikes in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota, bringing the total number of states that have successfully passed such amendments to 28. On a local level, San Francisco and Oakland voters also approved minimum wage increases. Alaska's voters approved a $2 increase to $9.75 an hour, while Arkansas voters approved an even steeper hike of $2.25 to $ 8.50 an hour. (The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.)
Taxes: Voters are fed up with paying the man. Fifteen states had ballot measures related to taxes. Among these, Georgia voters overwhelmingly supported a measure that eliminates future hikes of its income tax rate. Tennessee voters said yes to an all-out ban on state and local income and payroll taxes; North Dakota voted to eliminate real estate transfer taxes, and Massachusetts voters adopted a measure to stop indexing its gas tax.