Following significant discussion and careful consideration, the United Way of Eastern Maine (UWEM) board of directors has resolved to express its opposition to the proposed Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
The board’s position is based on concerns about TABOR’s potential negative effect on Maine’s families and communities. The board also considered the negative effects of TABOR’s adoption in Colorado, as reported by Colorado United Ways.
The board believes that TABOR’s funding and spending formula would significantly weaken Maine’s support networks available in several ways:
. Through its funding limits, TABOR would directly affect the quality, affordability and availability of social services offered by local and state governments.
. By limiting the ability of local and state entities to provide services at existing levels, TABOR would increase the financial and programmatic burden for providing services on philanthropic organizations and agencies.
. With UWEM and others already straining to support those in need, it would prove inevitable that some of Maine’s most vulnerable residents would fall through the “safety net” currently provided through a balanced combination of public, private and nonprofit entities.
To protect and improve Maine’s economic condition and quality of life, the board believes all policy-makers must deal sincerely and cooperatively with the concerns that led to TABOR: Maine’s overall tax burden. The resulting effort should be crafted as clearly and carefully as possible to avoid unintended consequences that could harm Maine’s most vulnerable. It is the board’s belief that despite its explicit language, TABOR, as written, will not satisfy its intended purposes, and could result in harm to those we strive to serve.
The board respects the perspectives of those involved in the TABOR debate, and encourages everyone to review the TABOR proposal and vote according to their convictions.
Board chair 2006-2007
United Way of Eastern Maine