PORTLAND — The 1997 Maine Individual Income Tax Forms, being released by Maine Revenue Services this month, feature a new checkoff for the Clean Election Fund. On both the long and short forms, the checkoff appears on Line 1. This fund was created as a result of the passage of the Clean Election Act, a comprehensive campaign finance initiative.
This checkoff does not add to the taxpayer’s bill or reduce the refund. Checking the box adds three dollars to the fund without changing the tax owed.
“Now every Maine taxpayer can check `yes’ and let Augusta know we want special interest money out of our elections,” said Alison Smith, campaign finance chair of the League of Women Voters of Maine. “With twenty other states using our law as a model for reform, all eyes are on Maine as we take steps to make good on the promises of the Clean Election Act.”
The act, approved in 1996, established a voluntary system for financing campaigns for state offices. Candidates who agree to strict spending limits and accept no private money will be eligible for the funds if they can demonstrate grass-roots support in their districts. This option will be availble for legislative candidates in the year 2000 and gubernatorial candidates in 2002.