Question 1 on the Maine ballot seeks repeal of a tax enacted by the Legislature last spring
to fund the state’s DirigoChoice health insurance program. The tax will be levied on
distributors of soda (and other drinks made with high-fructose corn syrup), beer and wine.
Distributors will probably pass the tax on to consumers; soft drinks are taxed at 42-cents
per gallon, beer will be taxed 54 cents per gallon, and wine will be taxed 65 cents per
gallon on wine. The idea is to discourage the consumption of these beverages, while also
making those who do consume them pay for health insurance for the 18,000 enrolled in
the Dirigo program.
Opponents say the tax was enacted late in the legislative session and no public hearings
were held on the concept. And, as the name of the group advocating a “yes” vote implies,
they are “fed up with taxes,” as are many other Mainers.
How will you vote, and why?