April 07, 2020

Council to sign resolve opposing TABOR tonight

BREWER – The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, is a hot-button tax reform issue around the state as residents prepare for November elections, and Brewer leaders will discuss the issue during a meeting tonight.

Afterward, city councilors are expected to sign a resolve opposing the measure.

TABOR would limit spending growth at the state, county, municipal and school district levels and require voter approval for tax and fee increases. Maine residents will vote on the measure during Nov. 7 elections.

The two-page Brewer resolve draft on TABOR ends by stating the “City Council strongly opposes passage of the proposed state law … and asks the citizens of Brewer to join with them in voting against this unnecessary, ill-conceived and destructive legislation.”

In a memo distributed in September to city councilors, Karen Fussell, Brewer finance director, gave several reasons for opposing the proposed legislation, including that “TABOR … caps overall expenditures and does not take into account potential new sources of non-tax funding.”

The text of the TABOR legislation can be found on the secretary of state’s Web site at: www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/pets02/legbillr.htm.

City Councilor Manley DeBeck is sponsoring the resolve and has used the public comment portion of recent council meetings to address issues for Brewer and its residents surrounding TABOR.

“It’s so confusing – you have this formula and you have that formula,” he said Monday. “We need some tax reform, but this isn’t it. It’s not a viable tax reform.

“People need to think about the ramification of this” before voting in November, he added later.

During tonight’s meeting, city councilors also will discuss accepting donations of funds and land, transfers of property, and are expected to purchase a replacement dump truck for Public Works and a pickup truck for the Water Department.

Two closed-door sessions that will end the meeting are being held to discuss the adoption of security procedures and for a personnel matter.

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