Maine’s High Taxes Break Up Families

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights initiative petition, which voters can sign on Election Day, will put a simple referendum question on the ballot next year that gets at the heart of our high taxes: excessive spending.

The petition has three goals: setting a rational spending limit for all levels of government, returning money to taxpayers when revenues exceed that limit, and letting taxpayers vote on all tax and fee increases.

After 30 years of watching the lack of consideration for taxpayers in Maine by politicians and public servants, it’s time for a referendum of reasonable limits to put the bit in the mouth of government and give the reins to the taxpayers.

Before you read further, I want you to think of what your grandparents meant to you when you were growing up and what your parents meant to your grandparents as they were growing older. This is the real stuff of life, and the purpose of good tax policy: the well-being of people.

  • People who want to stay in their homes are being forced to sell because of taxes which are based on what someone else would pay for it. I have an 84-year-old friend who bought a house in Camden when he retired in 1971. The taxes were $1,000 a year.
    Last year he paid $13,000 in taxes for the same house and this year, after revaluation of the town, his tax bill is $26,000.Variations of this story are being lived by thousands of households, and have given rise to Question 1 (the property tax cap) and angry taxpayer associations all over the state.
  • Even if you can afford your property taxes (Maine is No. 1 in the nation in property tax burden as a percentage of income) you’ve probably seen many of your children move away because the Maine economy can’t support them.
    If you’ve lost your children to other states with more robust economies, it means your bonds with those grandchildren aren’t as strong as if they lived down the street or within driving distance. Not having you near by means that those grandchildren have lost a chunk of their family cheering section.If your children have gone out of state to work, you’ve lost a major component of your old age security system. “I’ll stop by and see how the folks are doing” is part of the conversations of children who did not have to move away from family.
  • We can all afford to do without a few things in order to pay reasonable taxes, but we should not have to do without family, especially if the cause of their departure from us is government- induced.And who hasn’t lost dear friends to lower-taxed states? These are people whose friendships and functions in our lives cannot be replaced, especially as we grow older. It takes a network of associations to keep people in their homes in their senior years and neighborhood friendships are part of that network.

    When paying taxes stops being a benefit to people and starts to be a burden out of proportion to our ability to pay (we’re No. 2 in the nation in per capita state and local taxes), then we have to take matters into our own hands.

  • That reasonable response is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. We’ve got an impressive, dedicated unpaid army of volunteers, but we also need citizens to assure that every person who votes on Nov. 2 has a chance to sign the petition.Go to our Web site at and read what the petition legislation will do. If you agree that spending should be managed, tax increases should be voted on by the people who have to pay them, and 80 percent of the money which is collected in excess of allowable spending should be returned to the taxpayer each year, then sign on at the Web site or call 207-924-3835.

    Taxes and spending in Maine are so bad that it has gone beyond being a pocketbook issue and become a family issue that involves every man, woman, and child in the state.

    Look for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights petition at the polls, and sign it.

    Then please clasp the hands of that unpaid volunteer who is circulating the petition and say “Thank you for what you’re doing,” because he or she is giving you a chance to change the course of Maine’s poor economic history.

    It’s a change that will help reunite Maine families.

Originally Published in the Portland Press Herald

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