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Take this to the polls

Endorsements
By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF  |  June 3, 2010

 TJI060410_endorsements_main

FOR ALL VOTERS


Yes on 1

READ: "Referendum questions: June Election," by Jeff Inglis
A Yes vote will repeal the changes that made Maine’s income tax a 6.5-percent flat tax (rather than a somewhat graduated one topping out at 8.5 percent for people making over $16,700), and will also reject sales taxes on a wide range of services and entertainment pastimes, including movie tickets, performing-arts events, bar cover charges for live-music events, and even auto repairs and sightseeing tours. It’s bad policy to have a flat income tax, which disproportionately burdens those with lower incomes. And the sales-tax will be very difficult for entertainment venues and performers of all types, who will have to figure out how to handle an all-new state bureaucracy and accounting rules. Who, after all, will collect — and then, periodically, send to the state — the sales tax on a bar’s cover charge? We need to fix Maine’s tax structure, but this isn’t how.

WHERE DO I VOTE?
Polling hours 7 am-8 pm

Precinct: Polling Place
1-1: East End Elementary School, 195 North St
1-2: Merrill Auditorium Rehearsal Hall, 20 Myrtle St
1-3: Peaks Island Community Hall, Peaks Island
2-1: Reiche Elementary School, 166 Brackett St
2-2: Exposition Building, 239 Park Ave
3-1: Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodfords St
3-2: Italian Heritage Center, 40 Westland Ave
4-1: St. Pius Church, 492 Ocean Ave
4-2: First Baptist Church, 360 Canco Rd
5-1: University of New England, 684 Stevens Ave
5-2: Grace Baptist Gymnasium, 476 Summit St

Don’t know which is your place? Call the city clerk’s office at 207.874.8677 or go to portlandvoters.com to enter your address and find out. You can register to vote on Election Day or before.

Yes on 2
Spending $15.5 million on energy-efficiency improvements at Maine’s public universities, and another $11 million to research off-shore windpower generation (which will draw an extra $24.5 million in federal and other funds) was a good idea before the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico over the past few weeks. In the wake of that horrific mess, it is even wiser.

Yes on 3
Maine needs better roads, maintained better. We probably need to spend more than $25 million to fix them, but that’s a start. And then there’s $16 million for railroad work, including preserving a key rail section in Aroostook County. Throwing in $6.5 million to develop the deep-water pier at Portland’s Ocean Gateway isn’t likely to really help the waterfront or the local tourism/cruise industry much — and it bugs us that we have to vote on all three of these things bundled together — but we get some other good stuff, so we might as well go along with it.

No on 4
It’s unclear whether state investments in business development really pay off over time. All the money and tax breaks we gave the paper industry barely managed to slow that sector’s inevitable decline. Proponents say Maine’s business environment needs pretty much any help it can get at the moment, but is borrowing $24 million from ourselves and the taxpayers of the future really the way to go? Better to keep this money in Mainers’ pockets, to spend as we wish, than to give it to Augusta to fritter away fruitlessly again.

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