This week, ClickBack sought editorial page reader comment on the growing number of referendums on the ballot and the consequences of Question 2 and Question 4.
Is it too easy to get on the referendum ballot?
When the Legislature makes a law that offends enough people, those people should be able to raise their voice in a democratic way. If the referendum process is the most peaceable way to accomplish this then I am all for it. Some hot button issues just won’t be swallowed easily by everyone. Thank goodness that the people of Maine have this method at hand and are willing to use it.
No, it is not too easy. Actually it is a very good system. It is why we live in a democratic republic. It is a form of checks and balances. I would think twice about moving to a state that did not have some sort of referendum voting in place.
Yes, I think it is too easy. However, raising the percentage is not likely to make much difference since many of these petitions are at the places where we vote and I think a lot of people do not put a lot of thought into signing petitions.
One change that I would like to see is if an issue goes before the voters and is passed or defeated it cannot be brought up again by referendum in any form or wording for a minimum of 10 years.
Who pays the bill?
Democrats surely do not want TABOR. They want everything given to them by the government, handouts and a free ride, big government out of control. Vote yes on TABOR save the republic.
If we vote both of these measures in they will not be able to raise our property taxes to make up for the excise tax without our approval. They butchered these bills. We wanted excise tax cut; they simply rearranged it, no cuts. Who came up with no tax for hybrids? That is stupid and should never have been part of this bill.
A good rule of thumb is to always vote against anything that the government wants.
I’m not voting in favor of TABOR but I do not think state government is well managed. I would like to see financial audits of agencies like Maine State Housing to see exactly where federal and state dollars are going. Is the majority of the funding going to “administrative costs” or are the people of Maine actually benefiting from stimulus money?
It “costs” the taxpayers of Maine $1.5 million for the state to hand out Low Income Heating Assistance (LIHEAP) checks; $1.5 million to distribute about $25 million in heating assistance that the federal government gives back to us from our taxes. And remember that the government doesn’t purchase, store , or actually deliver any oil for this, the checks pay the oil dealers to do that. That’s what the state of Maine takes just to write the checks to pay someone else to do the actual work. This is just a small example of the mismanagement and waste that goes on in Maine government every day.
Voting Yes on TABOR would at least put the reins on government’s inclination to think they can automatically increase spending by just adding another tax (or fee) or increase the ones already in place. Then the next step is to change whatever is necessary to require all major state government offices (Treasurer, Commissioner of Education, Attorney General, etc.) to run for office and be elected by the people instead of being appointed by the Legislature.
Finally, if TABOR II passes, we could require that any new proposed increase (tax/fee or whatever) carry with it on the ballot a fiscal impact statement. How much would enactment of the proposal cost if the voters approve it, how long would it take to pay it off and what would the cost in interest be if we took it out as a loan (such as in a bond). This kind of information is what would make all of us financially responsible and aware.
To see more responses or to add your own, go to bangordailynews.com and look for ClickBack on the Opinion tab. Look for new questions in Tuesday’s editorial column.