I took some time and looked hard at TABOR. Don’t get me wrong, tax relief is always welcome, but this measure does not make things better, it makes them a lot worse. Here’s why:
It’s designed to tie state and local government in knots and govern by a one-size-fits-all formula. So when the price of gas goes up (and we know it will) how does a town choose between gas for the plows or for the school buses? Almost every decision requires voters to vote. Who pays for that? For that matter, why have representative government?
TABOR is largely funded by out-of-state people. Why? The principle people who are behind this have names – Howard Rich from New York and Rick Berman. Their stated aim is to destroy representative government.
Look at what happened in Colorado. It broke the state and it was the business community that led the fight to stop it. Those business leaders said: “We strongly suggest that anyone who is considering supporting TABOR do the homework to become very certain that it will not negatively affect the public services upon which Mainers depend, such as health care, education, and public safety, as TABOR did in Colorado.” Think it won’t happen here? Two winters ago some children in Colorado had no heat in their schools.
Gov. Baldacci and the Legislature did take action last year and are still working to stabilize and bring equity into the tax system. Near as I can tell, it’s working. TABOR however, is a wrecking ball with Maine’s name on it. In action it will bring everything (schools, roads, economic development, etc.) to a dead stop.