Both Sides Debate Tabor In Brewer 

Round one in the battle over Tabor took place in Brewer today and both sides came out swinging. Weighing in for those in favor of the “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” were Steve Bowen of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, and State Representative Carol Weston of Distrrict 23 (Waldo County). For the opposition it was Representative Jim Martin of District 18, and Chrostopher “Kit” St. John Executive Director of Maine Center for Economic Development. “From our point of view it’s the same bad idea Maine voters rejected back in 2006,” says St. John. Proponents say things have changed since voters rejected Tabor back in three years ago. “Well I think people have had a longer time to wait for those promises to be fulfilled,” says Rep. Weston, “they have been promised over and over.”Both sides spoke about what they see for Maine if Tabor 2 is passed in November. “For the long term we’re concerned for all municipalities being second guessed in their present decision making process,” says St. John, “and overlaying that process with a cumbersome and expensive referendum on any budget they decide should go over the limit.”Rep. Weston has served in the State Legislature for the past 12 years and she says something has been missing in Augusta. “One of the things that seems to have escaped us there is tying what people earn, what struggles their having at home to what we’re spending in Augusta.”Colorado had adopted Tabor in 1992 and both sides disagree on how effective it’s been. “You know Colorado, before they put Tabor in place in 1992, was about 29th or 30th in per capita income and by 2002 they had gone up to about 3rd, now they’re at 12th,” says Bowen, “in 1992 Maine was 35th in per capita income and today we’re 35th we’ve kind of flat lined.” Representative Martin also points out that Colorado voters voted to suspend Tabor. “But they did vote to suspend it,” he says, “that suspension is up next year and they just did a Republican poll in Colorado to see where the voters were and the majority agreed that they want Tabor gone because they lived with the consequences for 12 years.”While both sides say they want what’s best for Maine hey both have very different ideas of how to get the job done. “It is designed to shrink government year after year,” says Representative Martin, “because the purpose of Tabor, or those that have proposed it or developed it, are those who don’t believe in government, don’t believe in taxes and this is a designed way to impede government from doing it’s job and that’s providing necessary services to Maine people.” The proponents have their idea of how to fix the struggling economy in Maine. “It really goes back to two different philosophies about how to develop prosperity in Maine,” says Bowen, “we think you develop prosperity by limiting the growth of government by investing in the private sector, getting the private sector to create jobs.”We can all expect this debate to last clear to November, when the voters will make the ultimate decision.