April 07, 2020

TABOR too restrictive

As an educator and former four-term legislator, I urge the citizens of Maine to vote no on Question 1 (TABOR) on Election Day. I firmly believe TABOR would produce a meltdown effect, which would soon disrupt businesses, municipal governments, social agencies and schools.

TABOR stands for Taxpayer Bill of Rights; however, after carefully studying this legislation, I believe it is, in fact, a Taxpayer Bill of Restrictions. This bill is comprised of 13 pages of complicated provisions, which would make accurate budget preparation for municipal government and school systems nearly impossible.

If it becomes law:

. Question 1 will prevent the state from increasing its support for education to the level of 55 percent even though citizens voted this provision into law. The effect of this action alone will cause a substantial increase in local property taxes or the decimation of school systems we have worked so hard to build.

. Question 1 will allow a minority (one-third) of voters to control all local and state spending issues and yet would in many instances require two-thirds of voters to make any changes. Local control, for which Mainers take great pride, would be lost through these unfair voting procedures.

. Question 1 will have an adverse effect on all services – police, emergency response, road maintenance, fire and education, kindergarten through college. Programs such as fuel assistance and home health care would be jeopardized.

. Question 1 could create a nightmare for many communities by forcing costly referendum votes for even minor increased expenditures.

I join AARP, Maine Education Association, Maine Municipal Association, Maine School Boards’ Association, Maine School Superintendents’ Association and many other organizations, which also urge you to vote no on Question 1.

Omar P. Norton


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