If there is one constant concern among Maine citizens, it is the rising tax burden and tepid business climate which threaten to plunge the state into a full-blown fiscal crisis. Unfortunately, it appears as if these concerns are not shared with the majority Democrats in Augusta.
When the Taxpayer Bill of Rights was voted down last November, it was largely due to the promises of its opponents, such as the Maine Education Association, the Maine Municipal Association and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, that some form of tax relief would be offered in its place.
Unfortunately, those promises have already been broken. Joint Rule 219 was a measure promised by TABOR opponents which required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to override the spending restrictions of LD 1. Now, even the weak reforms of LD 1 are in danger. Although Joint Rule 219 passed unanimously in the Senate, obstructionist Democrats decided to stall a vote in the House by questioning its constitutionality to the Attorney General. When there was no clear answer from his office, they decided to shoot down the bill’s protections by voting against it on party lines, 84-60.
In the 2006 election, the ruling Democrats promised to answer the concerns of the citizens of Maine. It is only January, and already they have shown us that there are other, more important things than protections against unbridled government spending.
Brent A. Bowen, Lewiston