April 06, 2020

TABOR hurts schools

I write to share my deep concern about the TABOR, the so-called “Taxpayer Bill of Rights.” This ballot initiative is the opposite of its title. True taxpayer rights include safe, well-run schools, efficient and well-equipped fire and public safety programs, state-supported healthcare for the most needy like our elderly and children.

Yet if TABOR passes – and I hope it won’t – our local governments will no longer have the resources to provide these most basic of “rights” for their citizens. As the mother of a first-grader in SAD 34 and the wife of a teacher in SAD 28, I am most distressed by the probable effect of this wrong-headed proposal on our school systems.

TABOR imposes a one-size-fits-all formula for state and local budgets. According to Maine Municipal Association’s analysis, over 30 percent of schools and school districts would be forced to make cuts to existing budgets, which for Midcoast schools could mean at least the following hardships: More students in each classroom; further loss of art and music classes; reduced support for children in special education programs; and ultimately, the resignation of good teachers tired of these added burdens.

The only state to have passed TABOR is Colorado and they suspended the law last year because it wasn’t working. Yet the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing campaign continues here in Maine. Let’s not be fooled. Please join me in voting No on Question 1.

Evelyn deFrees


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