Perhaps a teacher or a friend told you about “Fool’s Gold,” or pyrite commonly found in places like Colorado, with words like “all that shines is not gold.” TABOR is a lot like “fool’s gold.” TABOR’s promises to reduce taxes are glittering, but not real except for the short term.
TABOR is a gimmick which will lead to severe across-the-board cutbacks in local services. Had TABOR been in effect last year in Maine, one-third of all elementary and secondary schools would have had to reduce spending. The Community Colleges and University of Maine System would have been forced to turn away many students who wanted to attend.
In Colorado’s TABOR, the percent of pediatricians treating children enrolled in Medi-caid declined from 41 to 24 percent. By 2002, Colorado’s child immunization rate was worst in the nation. As the rate of mental health problems among children escalated, Colorado eliminated many mental-health and substance-abuse programs.
What Maine needs is a common-sense approach to government that meets our priorities while controlling taxes. TABOR is a radical approach to tax relief. As the people in Colorado found, it is just as difficult to eradicate.
We all want better, more efficient outcomes for our tax dollars. And we have learned that, like fool’s gold, TABOR’s shimmering promises are false.
Charles J. O’Leary