In the May 21 Sun Journal, there was a story about how the state Appropriations Committee came up with an additional $6 million in funding for the University of Maine and the community college system that “… could ease upward pressure on tuition levels.” It says that there was less than $1 million in available funds, but they got creative in coming up with more money.
The report goes on to say: “… To come up with the higher education bonus, lawmakers voted to transfer a surplus in the account for reimbursing homestead exemptions to municipalities.”
Let’s be clear about something: the only reason there is a “surplus” in that account is because those lawmakers withheld that money, which was due to our cities earlier this year. The cities, in turn, raised property taxes in order to complete the funding of those homestead exemptions.
This “bonus” to the education system is not being funded from any real surplus, it is being funded from a tax increase we paid for last year, nothing less.
Anyone who doesn’t think we need to rein in spending at both the state and municipal levels is asking for more of this behavior to continue.
Maine taxpayers need TABOR to pass in order to stop this endless taxation-and-spending cycle.
Madelyn Reed, Auburn