AUGUSTA – The leader of Maine’s Roman Catholics said Thursday he’s voting against the Taxpayer Bill of Rights on the November ballot.
Bishop Richard Malone released a letter to Catholics explaining how he came to his decision. He said he recognized that everyone might not agree, so he urged Catholics to follow their hearts and the church’s teachings in reaching their own conclusions.
He said he understands the problems caused by a high tax burden on many working families and on the elderly. But he asked Catholics to consider whether TABOR serves their personal interest or whether it serves the greater good.
“Reflecting on this issue, I find that I personally have too many doubts and concerns about the short- and long-term effects on the people of the state of Maine and therefore must vote no,” Malone wrote in the letter.
Mary Adams of Garland, who led the push to get the measure on the ballot, said she wishes Malone had spoken to her before announcing his decision.
Maine consistently ranks on the bottom rung for charitable giving, and it’s because taxes take away discretionary income, she said. “We’re trying to put more money back in the pockets of individuals,” she said. “Most people do want to give more.”
Adams also said that taxes tend to be regressive and therefore unfairly target low-income Mainers.