All Maine Matters

June 2006



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It’s Time To Put Maine Taxpayers In Control of Taxes With Their Own “Bill of Rights”
By Mary Adams

Maine people #1 highest taxed in America!

It was good news for taxpayers everywhere in Maine when the Maine Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights should be on the November ballot. Our great attorney, Michael Duddy of Portland took the taxpayer referendum through the court challenges imposed by our opponents and won a 7-0 decision from the Law Court that the referendum could proceed as scheduled. Mike has earned a place forever in the Maine Taxpayer Hall of Fame, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for saving the taxpayer referendum from the hands of its enemies before the campaign even had a chance to begin.

Why Do Maine People Need a Taxpayer Bill of Rights?

We need to vote for it because it puts taxpayers (not government bureaucrats, politicians, and tax-dependent organizations) in charge of taxes. It also has a taxpayer rebate and a savings fund built into it which promotes tax relief and financial stability at all levels of government. It’s a taxpayer’s dream which can come true in November.

I and hundreds of your fellow taxpayers statewide made sacrifices of time and energy to collect enough signatures to make it possible for you to vote on this measure. (Many of you reading this may have circulated a Taxpayer Bill of

Rights petition. Thousands of you signed it.) This is a citizen effort to get control over out-of-control government spending, which had resulted in the highest tax burden in the country.

On November 7 (or before, if you vote by absentee ballot) you can vote for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. If it passes, it will allow government spending to grow at a reasonable level at each level of government, unless you give permission to spend over that limit. Under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights you will also decide tax and fee increases.

Taxpayer Bill of Rights doesn’t cut jobs or services; It controls amount of government growth.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights does not cut jobs or services. It does say to towns, school units, counties, and the state, “I’m here to protect the Maine taxpayers, #1 heaviest-taxed people in America for the last 10 years! From now on, each level of government may at least spend what it did the year before or grow at a rate tied to economic indicators.”

During most years, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights also allows government to grow at a reasonable pace, based on one of two growth allowances. Even in economic downturns, government will be able to spend what it spent the year before. This is in part due to the reserves that all levels of government will be forced to keep.

In all cases, if government wants to spend more, it just has to get majority approval from the voters.

Who will try to stop taxpayers from taking control?

Expect strong opposition to this common sense plan from those who live off your tax dollars. They will say that a Taxpayer Bill of Rights is dangerous or bad for Maine. But if you understand that their campaign to defeat your Bill of Rights is about not wanting to put taxpayers in charge of spending, then you’ll understand why they are upset. They want to be in charge, not you. They’ve had more than 30 years to make Maine a place with a good tax and economic climate and they haven’t done it. Time‘s up! Taxpayers have to take the reins now.

Who are the Redcoats and who are the Freedom Fighters in this modern Revolt?

Make no mistake, this will be a battle, and I’m so proud of our side which is standing up for the people.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is supported by dozens of great municipal officers, selectmen, councilmen, mayors, and budget committees and town managers, as well as numerous state legislators in the House and Senate.

But some public servants at the local and state level who oppose the Taxpayer Bill of Rights are more in sympathy with the Maine Municipal Association and other special interests who suck up tax dollars than they are to their own taxpayers. Fortunately, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, once enacted, will be a constant reminder, year after year, that government works for the people. Isn’t it about time?

Remember, this is not the Maine Municipal Bill of Rights or the special interests Bill of Rights….It’s the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and it’s worth fighting for!

There is solid support among Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens and Libertarians at the grassroots level for this great referendum. It is truly a non-partisan taxpayer cause. The Libertarian Party of Maine and the Republican Party of Maine both have Taxpayer Bill of Rights planks in their current platforms.
Taxpayer associations statewide support the Taxpayer Bill of Rights referendum including the Citizens Alliance of Maine (headed by Jack Wibby of Gray), United Citizens of Auburn, the Portland Taxpayers Association, the Kennebunk Taxpayers Association, Bristol Taxpayers Association, Windham Taxpayers Association and the Biddeford taxpayers group to name a few. At least 52,000 registered Maine voters signed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights petitions.

The referendum language of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights was drafted by people who care deeply for the future of Maine, the Maine Heritage Policy Center in Portland, headed by William Becker.

How can you support the Taxpayer Bill of Rights? Here’s how….

There is much to be done between now and November 7th to spread the good news to family, friends, neighbors across Maine that the worm has finally turned and that John and Jane Citizen have a chance to shift the balance of power of government spending to the people, where it belongs. (Feel free to cut out and make copies of this article, hand them out to those citizens around you who are struggling to pay their taxes and make ends meet. Urge them to make their own copies and spread the word.)

Please contact me by phone (924-3835), email, or letter sent to PO Box 10, Garland ME 04939 and tell me you’ll volunteer. I can tell you of many important ways you can help to make sure that your Bill of Rights passes in November. If you have a computer, the web address is

The opposition will have unlimited funding (estimates of $1,000,000) to try to defeat this citizen referendum. It’s King George vs. the patriots all over again. We’ll even see our own tax dollars used to try to defeat us. So please send checks in whatever amount you can afford to: Taxpayer Bill of Rights Treasurer, PO Box 5271, Augusta ME 04332, or to me at PO Box 10, Garland ME 04939 (and I’ll forward them to the Treasurer.) There is no limit on the amount which can be donated in a referendum. I’m an unpaid volunteer and most of us are, but we’ll need every dime Maine people can spare in order to get our paid messages of taxpayer control out through the media to the people of Maine.

Remember: Voters can now vote weeks before November for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The rules have changed and any registered voter can vote early by absentee ballot, not just those who will be out of town on election day. This will be very helpful to the elderly who may not be able to count on a ride to the polls on election day. Just contact your municipal office and ask about an absentee ballot.

Find out which candidates support putting taxpayers in control!

Ask the candidates for office who will be on the June and November ballot if they support your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. It will be important to have pro-Bill of Rights people in office at every level of government.

In the Republican Primary for Governor, two out of three candidates are on record supporting our Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Chandler Woodcock and David Emery favor it and Peter Mills does not.

For those living in Piscataquis County, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Campaign Chairman is state senate candidate Joyce A. Perry of Dover-Foxcroft. Contact me or Joyce (564-2466 or email ) and say “Sign me up. I want to be a Taxpayer Bill of Rights volunteer and give the people of Maine control over taxes and put government on a budget.” Since we have to live within a budget, it seems only just and fair that the government we are forced to support be put on a budget too!
By enacting the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, we can provide a framework of taxpayer control which will provide a backbone for accountability and send a message of hope and opportunity throughout the state and nation that Maine people are putting their state back on track themselves, using a century old referendum process to do it. Let’s prove that when it comes to regaining common sense and fiscal sanity, reducing our #1 tax burden and strengthening our economy, we can get there from here.

Mary Adams has been a property rights and tax activist for more than 30 years. She led Mainers in the 1977 repeal of the State property tax. Ever the activist, she successfully led the charge to get TABOR on the ballot. The TABOR site is, and her email address is

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