Conservative to the Core

It’s (almost) never good

By Tom Seymour | Oct 05, 2018

The Waldo County Republican Party from time to time sends out alerts to people on its mailing list. Their last missive read, “VOTE NO! On All Ballot Questions,” followed by “It’s (Almost) Never Good.”

Never were truer words spoken. The current crop of ballot questions all ask voters to approve many millions of dollars for various projects. As so often happens, some are a replay of the same old solicitations and at least one sounds so preposterous that it seems hard to believe that anyone of a sound mind would vote for it. But we have people who seem to enjoy spending money, especially other people’s money, and these are the folks who usually put ballot questions over the top.

Note that, over the last eight years, Gov. LePage has managed to not only keep taxes down, but also to create a surplus. The governor has come out against countless efforts to tax Mainers for things they shouldn’t be taxed for. The end result, now, is that our Maine economy is finally healthy and on a sound footing. A “yes” on these ballot questions can put that in jeopardy.

Ballot questions usually reflect the politics of whatever group manages to get them on the ticket. This year, all the ballot questions are of a liberal bent. The biggest potential boondoggle, Question 1, a pet project of Republican Bruce Poliquin’s opponent Jared Golden, is a complicated tax hike of 3.8 percent on payroll and non-wage income in order to fund universal health care.

So if we thought that a tax on our payroll income was bad enough, now they want to place an additional tax on all other income as well. And that includes income that people thought was safe from the long, probing fingers of government.

This question, if passed, would quickly eat through surpluses and put the Maine economy into a shambles. And the new taxes would become an unbearable burden on working people and retirees alike. Do we really want to squeeze more money from taxed-enough Mainers to provide health insurance for physically fit young people who should be out working and paying for their own policies? I think not.

I really like Question 2 because it is such a shining example of liberals intent upon wasting everyone else’s money. The sponsors of this question want to impose a tax of $30 million on water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. That’s a lot of money, more than I can envision in my head. But the wording attempts to tug on our heartstrings. Who isn’t for good, clean water?

However, the majority of rural, suburban and exurban Mainers maintain their own private wells. None of this money would go toward helping them. Instead, it is designated for towns and cities. But wait, there’s more. A whopping $27 million of this money is to be spent on studies. Only the remaining $2.35 million would go toward repairing municipal water systems. This sounds more like a backdoor job-creation program than something wholly designed for infrastructure improvement.

Besides all that, people in towns and cities already pay for their water. They receive monthly bills. And property owners also pay a portion of their taxes on municipal projects such as improvements to water systems. So these folks get hit twice. And now they want to tax everyone, rural and urban alike, to pay for something that they will see no benefit from.

Question 3 addresses transportation infrastructure. I view the now-common use of the word “infrastructure” as something of a catchphrase. Those who compose ballot questions find it much easier to simply say, “infrastructure” than to outline what they in fact propose to do with the money. In this case, “infrastructure” probably means roads and bridges. But that’s just a guess. Most of the money could go to studies and so on. We really don’t know.

Besides that, we motorists pay through the nose. Gasoline is taxed at an exorbitant rate. Even worse, registration fees for motor vehicles are over the moon. Try buying or leasing a new vehicle and then going to register it. That alone will probably equal the cost of four monthly car payments. The Department of Transportation should budget accordingly and not ask for money through ballot initiatives. We motorists pay way too much as it is.

Question 4 is an old, tried-and-true solicitation. It asks for “only” $49 million for expanding and improving the University of Maine system. In this case, the word “system” has a similar meaning to “infrastructure.” In other words, give us money so that we can spend it as we wish. As our local Republican committee says, “It’s for the children.”

Property owners already pay more than their fair share for education. Period.

Question 5 requests $15 million for expansions of existing labs and lab (here we go again) infrastructure. Well, at least they are somewhat specific here. But given that one college’s ceilings burst out in black mold this summer, might voters insist that university authorities manage properly that which they already have, rather than trying to dig more money out of unwilling pockets?

The clear choice for those who care is to vote NO on all ballot questions.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Kevin Riley | Oct 15, 2018 13:14

Looks like vote how you are told to vote not for what you believe is right.

That's how dictatorships are run



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