The political action committee backing the property tax cap referendum has a new campaign name: Tax Cap YES!

“Barring the Legislature taking some leadership initiatives or a competing ballot measure proposed, we felt that Tax Cap YES!’ best describes what the referendum would do,” said spokesman Phil Harriman.

Fueled by climbing municipal budgets and property tax revaluations, interest in the tax cap is growing, Harriman said. More than 200 people attended a recent meeting in Yarmouth.

A Tax Cap YES! Web site is not yet available. Until lawmakers adjourn, “We don’t know exactly what we’re fighting for,” Harriman said. “The Legislature could put the referendum on the ballot in June or November. We’re waiting to see what happens.”
Bruno: There is no plan!’
Don’t hold your breath, said House Minority Leader Joe Bruno, R-Raymond. “I don’t see any plan.” No property tax relief plan has emerged at the State House that has enough support to pass, Bruno said Friday. Even though municipal leaders have warned tax cap passage would be disastrous to towns and cities, Bruno predicted that Carol Palesky’s referendum would pass with flying colors.

Gov. John Baldacci has not exhibited leadership to bring the parties together, Bruno complained. And with divided, partisan budgets headed to the House and Senate floors this week, the parties are polarized, he said. Democrats disagree, and say they’ll soon unveil a plan Monday that could be passed before adjournment.

Republicans want tax relief through slowed spending by constitutional spending caps. Democrats want to raise taxes to lower property taxes, and there’s not much to the governor’s plan, Bruno said.

“The people of Maine should be angry that the Legislature can’t do anything,” he said.
Hamel headed south
Maine Republican’s 2nd Congressional District candidate is heading south next week.

Brian Hamel, who is unopposed for his party’s nomination, is planning to make campaign stops in Lewiston on Tuesday, including a tour of Geiger. Then he is headed to Oxford where he will be a guest on a radio show at WOXO and a featured speaker at an Oxford County Republican Committee chicken dinner, $6.50 a plate.

Hamel says he has raised more than $143,000 since March 1, all from individuals in Maine’s 16 counties. He has accepted no PAC money to date, he says, but he expects to.

He’s been to Washington to meet with Republican National Congressional Committee officials, as well as to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign headquarters. He says he expects to garner substantial moral and financial support from national party officials who consider Maine a winnable state for both Bush and the 2nd Congressional District seat.

He has no paid employees, but hopes to hire a press secretary soon, followed by a full-time campaign manager, scheduler and consultant/fundraiser within a month, he says.

Hamel has a Web site, www.hamelforcongress.com, that offers biographical and donor information and other campaign news.
Green convention
The Maine Green Independent Party will hold its 2004 Presidential Nomination Convention on April 17 and 18 at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston, according to a press release from the party.

At the convention, members will choose 19 delegates to send to the national convention June 24 through 27 in Milwaukee to nominate the Green presidential candidate. Ralph Nader has withdrawn his name from consideration as the Green nominee, but would welcome the party endorsement as he runs for president as an independent.

Also at the Lewiston convention, attendees will endorse a record number of 23 candidates to the state Legislature, elect new officers and a new party co-chair. The convention will open Saturday with a ceremony by Penobscot Indian Nation elder Arnie Neptune. On both days speakers will talk about building the party, green activism and diversity. For more information: www.mainegreens.org.
– By Staff Writers Bonnie Washuk and Christopher Williams


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