April 06, 2020

Candidates express opposition to TABOR

BREWER – All of the participants at Tuesday’s Meet the Candidates forum said they oppose the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and encouraged residents to vote against the measure on Election Day.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a ‘no’ for me,” City Councilor Larry Doughty, who is running for a seventh three-year term on the board, said to the few residents who attended the forum at Brewer High School.

TABOR would restrict future growth in government spending at the state, municipal and school district levels to increases in inflation and population growth, if approved at the polls next month.

“I believe TABOR would have a dramatic negative effect” on services offered by Brewer, City Councilor Michael Celli, who is running for a third term on the board, said.

Overriding the TABOR spending limits is a two-step process: First two-thirds of a legislative body, such as the Legislature or a town council, must approve the increase. Then a majority of voters must approve the increase at the next general or special election.

“One of the tacky reasons for me is the switch from local control to state control – that bothers me,” Amanda Bost, who is seeking a second three-year term on the Brewer school committee, said in response to the TABOR question.

Brewer High School District trustee Alan Kochis, who is running for a third five-year term on the panel, added, “It is just a bad, bad solution to the problem of rising taxes.”

All four candidates are running unopposed for their seats. Resident Jeffrey Taylor, a 1986 Brewer High School graduate who has five children in the Brewer school system, is running for the school board seat now held by Ruth-Marie Spellman, but was unable to attend the forum because he was out of state for job training.

Eight people were in attendance at the forum, which is sponsored annually by the Brewer Education Association.

City Manager Steve Bost, who sat in the audience, ended the forum by telling the incumbents that there is a reason that no one is running against them.

“A lot of people think you’re doing a good job,” he said. “That’s what I’m hearing.”

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