Mainers Pass Majority of Bond Issues
(From AP)-Maine voters are showing little aversion to long-term borrowing as the referendum vote is tallied. Question 1 was the people’s veto, asking Mainers if they would like to reject the new law that lowers income tax but also makes changes to sales tax.Mainers have voted to repeal a tax reform law that would have lowered the state’s income tax rates while placing new taxes on dozens of purchases ranging from car repairs and amusement park admissions to movie tickets. The ballot question to overturn the law earned 60 percentsupporter of voters. The law was passed by the Legislature lastyear but never went into effect. The law would have lowered Maine’s top income tax rate from 8.5% to 6.5%, while broadening the 5 percent sales tax tomany items that are now exempt. It also would have hiked the foodand lodging tax. Supporters of the law said it would have saved Mainers money andspur the economy. Opponents said every Maine resident would be forced to pay newtaxes on everyday purchases.Supporters and opponents of the law have very different views of what it will mean for Maine.”The economy is in such a bad way, I don’t think we should be doing it at this time,” says Senator David Trahan of the Yes on 1 campaign. “A lot of the tourism business in particular, they’re really getting hit hard, and I think they got really afraid that this was going to hurt their business in a big way. And they came out and voted.”"We continue to have one of the worst tax structures in the country,” says Wick Johnson of the No on 1 campaign. “Narrow the sales tax, most punitive tax income of huge alternative growth.”With 79% of precincts reporting… x-Yes, 139,800 – 61 percent No, 88,984 – 39 percentQuestion 2 was the energy bond.. x-Yes, 133,518 – 59 percent No, 93,783 – 41 percentQuestion 3 was the transportation bond. x-Yes, 130,414 – 58 percent No, 95,474 – 42 percentQuestion 4 is the economic bond. That is still too close to call at this hour. Yes, 113,917 – 51 percent No, 111,387 – 49 percentQuestion 5 is the water bond. x-Yes, 124,147 – 55 percent No, 102,141 – 45 percent Supporters point out that the total borrowing package wouldcreate hundreds of jobs at a time when the state is stillrecovering from the recession. But critics say the bonds add toomuch to the state’s long-term debt. The bonds cover a variety of projects from highways to adeep-water wind-power demonstration site. They also would buy andpreserve a railroad that’s considered a lifeline to AroostookCounty industries and complete the Ocean Gateway pier in Portland.Overall, the four bonds would draw nearly $97 million in matchingfunds.