All Maine Matters

July 2006



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Taxpayer Bill of Rights: An Independence Day Story
By Bob Stone

The mid-July sun was working diligently, slowly burning off the damp fog settled in low over the tidal Kennebec. The tide was rushing in, near high, and the small group of patriots huddled against the early morning chill. No one uttered a word. They were listening.

“Here they come” whispered the diminutive leader, clearly the leader of the group. Dressed in black, she crouched low behind a mossy fallen pine, five silver stars on her collar. “Everyone be quiet and hold your fire” she said. “Pass it on.”

The masts could be seen first. They quietly cut through the mist. The fog swirled behind the masts in small eddies of grayish vapor. Squawking gulls orbited nervously over the ghostly square rigs.
Soon the rest of the vessels could be discerned through the thicker layers of fog. They were magnificent sailing vessels, sure enough. Ships of the line. The best taxpayer money could buy.
The names could be read from the stern as the men-of-war
passed not fifty yards from the patrol of minutemen hidden on the steep banks of the peaceful Kennebec. Colonel Becker read the names to Captain Wibby as they passed.

“The ‘N.E.A’, home port Washington, D.C. The ‘More Money Always’, port looks like, Augusta, Maine. The ‘John Baldacci’, out of Bangor.” The craggy Captain furiously scribbled the dictation down on a leather bound notebook.

“Jeepers! Look at the redcoats on deck!” whispered a young militia man quite loudly.

“Not too loud, Sergeant Thumper” cautioned Major Fish. “It’s not like we didn’t expect them coming in with the gold.”

With a steely gaze, General Adams sized the magnificent gilded trim on the massive ships. “They are coming with gold for the Tory Maine Media” she muttered. “Look at the reporters and editors running out onto the dock, jumping and clapping. It looks like Christmas morning.”

“Shhhhh! Shhhhh” Mr. Wibby loudly signaled. “Look, here come the rest of the Tories.”

Sure enough, smaller vessels materialized out of the lifting fog.
“These must be the locals…the supporting cast” figured Colonel Becker. “Let’s see…ayuh…the ‘John Richardson’ out of Brunswick….the ‘Kathadin Institute’ out of Portland…the “St. John” from Phippsburg.

On and on, about 85 more coastals cruised by. They were a loud and boisterous bunch. They yelled noisy greetings to the Tory Media on the dock as they approached.

Soon, the docks were a sea of red coats. With the sun now having burned off the last remnants of the fog, the gold on the decks of the men-of-war glinted fiercely.

A long line formed and the gold was passed, as in a bucket brigade, up onto the docks. The swarming red coats eagerly loaded it on to the media carriages. Some of the bullion was off-loaded onto each of the coastal schooners. There was whooping and yelling as each gold brick reached one of the supporting vessels.

With the improving visibility, the quaint village could now be seen overlooking the docks. The local residents stood on their porches and peered from the windows of the weather beaten small homes. They were quiet. Very, very quiet.

“How much do you think they brought in, Colonel Becker” queried the young sergeant.

“Well, a couple of years ago they brought in about $1.5 million for the Question 1A side” whispered Becker. “The local Tories raised over a million for the 1B bunch. They have all kinds of money. I think this time it will be nearly 2 million.”

“Where do they get their money?” asked the younger man.

“Most of it comes from the taxpayers in one way or another,” said Captain Wibby, slamming his journal shut. “They use taxpayer monies to fund these campaigns which are totally designed to take even more taxes out of the citizens’ wallets.”

“But that’s not fair!” shouted the young patriot.

“Quiet!” barked the Captain.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Wibby,” said General Adams, in a calming voice. “They are so busy whooping it up over their in their gold haze that they will never hear a thing from over here on the Western bank.”

The small group of militia watched for the better part of an hour as the tide turned, lines were cast and the fleet headed down the Kennebec for the open sea. The ships of the line rode high on the tide while the smaller schooners were drafting much more, loaded with the gold bestowed upon them by their benefactors.

The ‘Baldacci’ rode at anchor and did not join the procession down the Kennebec. The redcoats also stayed and started to walk up through the town, guarding the Tory Media wagons as their horses strained to get up the steep hill leading from the docks.

“So it begins. So it begins” repeated General Adams.

“Come on, people. We’ve got work to do.”

The group started away but General Adams paused as she noticed a couple of bald eagles soaring freely and majestically in the rising thermals of the morning. There was a twinkle in her eye.

Bob Stone is a retired banker and treasurer for Common Sense for Maine Taxpayers. Maine’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights site is at

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