Dirigo tax debate not so sweet

Posted Oct. 30, 2008, at 7:31 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 3:27 a.m.

Editorial page readers this week weighed in on Question 1 on the Maine ballot, the referendum that seeks to repeal the beverage tax. The tax was enacted by the Legislature in the spring to help pay for the state-sponsored DirigoChoice health insurance program.

A yes vote repeals the tax, and a no vote keeps it in place.

I’ll be voting no. The real issue is the manipulation of language — the referendum question is not about taxes, but whether and how to help people in poverty get access to health care. It would serve the public to have that discussion on the table rather than this misleading campaign, which is a manipulative appeal to the least in us, tapping people’s fear and anger. — DennisM

Enough already! Has no one heard of moderation? That goes for taxes and beverages. Yes, everyone should have access to health care, but this not the way to acquire funds. When I am guaranteed that the clients who use Dirigo and have state (taxpayer funded) debit cards with which to buy soda are restricted from buying soda, maybe I will rethink my position. As it stands now, I will pay a tax to enjoy my soda vice, and I will also pay the tax again as the state funded debit cards are used to buy soda by some Dirigo clients. We in Maine pay out a disproportionate amount of our income taxes. Yes, I am certainly fed up with taxes.

— aMEreader

I will vote no. I really think the small business shills that the Maine Chamber rounded up for the TV ads could use Dirigo themselves. With the recent quote of family coverage on average costing $13,010 in Maine, most self-employed people should be able to see the value in Dirigo (if they weren’t brainwashed by the Maine Chamber and their suppliers).

— LarrySG

I’ll be voting no because the high fructose corn syrup sweetening most soft drinks has been implicated in many of the health problems found in our population.

The ads claiming that high fructose corn syrup is natural are the fault of the Food and Drug Administration having no official definition of the term. But the trade association of high fructose corn syrup makers describe the process: “Soaking corn in sulfur dioxide, separating the corn starch using high-speed centrifuges, adding enzymes to separate out sugar molecules, adding magnesium and using a series of filters and separation procedures.” Yum!

Obesity, diabetes, increased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are Maine’s health concerns. Perhaps we should think twice before buying these products.

The Organic Consumers Web site warns: “Part of what makes the high fructose corn syrup such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.”

— betterinfo

I will be voting yes and have urged everyone I know to do the same. The Dirigo Health Plan is a failure, plain and simple. Facts and numbers can be twisted to sound anyway the messenger wants, and the Dirigo group has been caught two years running manipulating these numbers. It is a pet project of our fine governor who has the luxury of keeping it functioning because he is the governor. I work for a small business (10 or less employees) and every year when it is time to review our plans Dirigo is always a less desirable option (more money). It is time to admit failure, be a man, Mr. Governor. You still have two years to make something else your legacy.

— DavidJ

I’m voting yes. First of all there is the false idea that the tax is being applied against the distributor. A tax is a business expense, which is always passed on to the consumer. I really wouldn’t mind paying an extra penny for a can of soda, but we have to send a message to Augusta. Remember the last political campaign? It was “no new taxes or fees.” Well, they lied. Here’s a new tax along with the increased motor vehicle fees. Enough is enough.

— homer2

This whole state is about taxing to collect a few pennies here and there. The middle class in this state has had enough with tax after tax.

— ShawnDaily

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