The town politicians who have come out against excise tax relief are waging a campaign of deception meant to scare us into voting against Question 2 on the November ballot.
Question 2 would cut Maine’s excise tax — the nation’s seventh-highest — by about half, which the Maine Municipal Association predicts will save drivers across the state about $80 million each year. Faced with an opportunity to empower residents with tax relief, town politicians have instead threatened us with massive property tax increases, crumbling local roads and the elimination of crucial local services.
If these politicians weren’t in positions to continue taking more of our money in property taxes, their threats would be amusing. But, since they seek to consolidate their power in local government by increasing town spending funded by our tax dollars, their comments become offensive and disingenuous.
Between 2004 and 2008, town politicians showed what little respect they had for local taxpayers. During that time, the state Legislature increased aid to local governments by $278 million based on promises by town politicians that the added state aid would go directly to property tax relief. Instead, town politicians increased spending by $659 million and actually raised property taxes by another $343 million to make up the difference.
These disingenuous town politicians already have a record of broken promises. I’m voting yes on Question 2 to give them a swift kick in the backside and to make sure they don’t weasel out of creating real local tax relief.
Question 4 on the November ballot gives the people of Maine a chance to take hold of our financial futures. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights will make the changes we need to reverse decades of overspending and years of reckless tax hikes to fund politicians’ spending binges.
Question 4 guarantees that state spending can only grow above the rate of inflation plus population if we, the voters of Maine, decide we want to pay more. It also gives us the final say on tax increases passed at the state level and local property tax increases above about 4 percent. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is our chance to make sure politicians’ priorities for government are the same as the peoples. Question 4 lets us decide.
Maine needs a Taxpayer Bill of Rights now more than ever. Since 2000, state spending skyrocketed over $2 billion. At the same time, 13,000 Mainers working in the private sector lost their jobs.
Politicians’ overspending, and the high taxes enacted to pay for those spending hikes have put thousands of Mainers out of work, driven businesses to more friendly states like New Hampshire and Colorado, and continues to threaten the financial security of each and every Maine resident.
On Nov. 3, I will be voting yes on Question 4. It’s time for a change and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights guarantees the changes we need to limit government spending and put Mainers back to work.
Return to civility
In his OpEd (BDN, Sept. 19-20) Colbert King details some of the extremist language being used around the nation against President Obama. We are falling apart as a society of common goals and interests.
The public’s urgent business is not being addressed by our elected representatives in Washington because of the dominant “heads I win, tails you lose” atmosphere which prevails not only in the nation’s capital, but throughout the land.
The time is now for a bold reminder to be issued that we are, and must continue to be, “one nation.” The Civil War was fought to affirm this truth. We must not revisit that schism.
It is time for Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to follow the path taken previously by Sen. Margaret Chase Smith. As a matter of conscience, senators must speak to all Americans about the agenda of highest priority today: returning to civil discourse throughout the body politic in order to allow reason and compromise to be brought to bear on our urgent national problems.
Bipartisanship is no longer relevant, nor necessary, to solve our problems. We are a nation of multiple partisanships. We must not let those whose self-interests are intransigent prevent this democracy from working to find the common good. We must be called to a higher cause, to rise above our self-interests, to rededicate our-selves to the principle that “government of the people (not parties, not corporations), by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
Don’t be fooled
I was glad to learn recently that more than half of the American people are in favor of a public option as regards health care reform. In stands in sharp contrast to the Republican greed machine that is constantly grinding middle- and lower-income people into subhuman misery.
It never ceases to amaze me the hypocrisy that incessantly flows from the so-called conservative GOP. On one hand they march on Washington en masse to protest legislation that will protect the health and safety of fellow human beings, citing unnecessary budget deficits; but when Bush was asking for billions of dollars with which to destroy innocent civilians, pregnant women and young children in Iraq and Afghanistan, where was the outcry then?
They call Democrats the “tax and spend” party; that’s as laughable as calling Republicans “conservative.”
Most Americans are in favor of some form of public option, even though many on the right are screaming “entitlement.” Balderdash! What is Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security if not a mutually agreed upon system of reimbursement that you have paid into all of your working life? The problem is, many in the GOP are heavily indebted to their campaign contributors such as Big Pharma, Big Medicine and Big Insurance. The three giants dole out billions to Congress to make sure that their interests are served and not the people’s.
These are the same people who told you Saddam was responsible for Sept. 11 and had yellow-cake uranium, and we don’t torture. Don’t be fooled again, support President Obama in his efforts to bring about real change.
Vote no on 1
Apparently there are misguided Mainers who want to deny equal rights to neighbors who just happen to have a sexual orientation different from their own. I think that if we aren’t going to allow marriage for gays, then we shouldn’t allow it for nongay couples. A majority of marriages don’t work out anyway, so maybe we shouldn’t let anybody get married.
I’ve been married 30 years and yes, that’s silly. Instead, let’s allow everybody who wants to get married do so. That makes common sense. Allowing gay marriage is not a “threat” to traditional marriages. Nobody can tell you who to marry. Let’s be fair to all our residents. Join me this Nov. 3 in voting no on Question 1.