PORTLAND (AP) – An organization supporting November’s tax cap referendum sent a letter on Thursday asking Maine’s attorney general to decide whether it is appropriate for the state to use tax dollars to sway voters.

The group, known as Tax Cap Yes!, argues using tax dollars to fund an organized campaign to defeat the Nov. 2 citizen’s referendum is unacceptable.

“It just seems to us that in a society that is governed by we the people,’ the use of government resources specifically to influence the outcome of an election is wrong,” said Phil Harriman, who is leading Tax Cap Yes!

The initiative would cap property taxes at $10 per $1,000 of assessed value, based on values in 1996-97, and limit assessment increases to two percent yearly while property ownership remains in a family.

State Reps. Louis B. Maietta, Jr., R-South Portland, and Stanley J. Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, submitted the request to the attorney general on Thursday.

While neither has taken a side on the issue, they noted in a joint statement that the research materials accompanying the letter indicate the government may not be acting in a law-abiding manner.

Also included in the letter was a memo from Orland Delogu, a University of Southern Maine professor, who cited several other states where the use of public funds to influence an election is prohibited.

Chuck Dow, spokesman for the attorney general, said the office had received the letter and that it would be considered in due course.

“We recognize that this is a fairly pressing matter. So we’ll give it the attention it deserves,” he said.



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