Monday, November 2, 2009

The decisions are upon us

Like probably all of you who live in Maine, I’ve been getting a whole bunch of mailers concerning some issues facing Maine voters Tuesday. It is then that we will decide on seven state referendum items and, depending on your community, local elections.

Gator Wife and I took advantage last week of the state’s new early voting experiment which is designed to see how people react and use voting spread out over a period of time rather than just one day. It differs from absentee voting in that with early voting, the voter actually completes and casts a ballot into a regular vote counting machine whereas absentee voting is accomplished by the voter completing a ballot and putting it into an envelope which is held until Election Day.

Apparently, the early voting test is proving to be a big success. It is the way I’ll vote from now on if the opportunity continues.

Back to the mailers. Two I received last Friday dealt with the “Vote No” group and their mailers were simply grossly exaggerated. One, the Vote No on Question 1 (gay marriage) wanted to convince me that thousands of Mainers wanted to keep the law that allows same sex marriages. The actual ballot question asks Mainers if they want to repeal the law.

I’m not sure just who those “thousands” are, but, according to a set of statistics I saw last week, less than one percent (.6%) of the money paying for their campaign came from Mainers. The rest was from out of state special interest groups. It was all from non-Mainers who have no stake in our state except to promote their special agenda.

The other mailer I received Friday was from the Vote No on Question 4 (TABOR II) group. Those people may have presented the most grossly over stated reasons to vote against the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights of any group on any question in this year’s election. Much of their presentations have been just plain lies. I’ve gone through most of their claims in recent postings so I won’t repeat them here.

But once again, just like the previous one, the list of contributors to the No campaign on TABOR tells a lot more than their message. Nearly 100% of the money to pay for that campaign has come directly from groups, both governmental and non-profit, that get their money from government funding. They are afraid that the voters will not continue to approve the large tax increases of the past few years that keep them going.

TABOR doesn’t call for any cuts, only the limiting of growth. I can think of many places I’d like to see cut and give me a tax break. We bought their arguments three years ago and accepted their promises of reform. Once the election was over, those reforms were discarded and tax growth has outstripped the cost of living by double digits.

The “No” group will point out that the state this year has cut several million dollars from its current budget. What it doesn’t mention is that nothing was cut. Part of the reduction was paid by federal stimulus money for one year; part was simply palmed off to the local communities to pay.

Personally I hope you’ll vote “Yes” on the referenda so this state can begin its healing. But no matter how you feel, it is extremely important that you do get to the polls Tuesday (or to early voting or absentee voting Monday). It is an honor for every American to participate in the democratic process, whether you agree with my positions or not.


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