Letter: Reject the excise tax initiative
Do not be fooled by ballot Question 2, which its promoters want you to think will provide excise tax relief. This initiative is flagrantly unfair and will not benefit most middle-income Maine residents. What it will do is cause chaos in municipal budgets, which will hurt our children, who cannot vote.
The fact is that Maine towns rely heavily upon the excise tax as a means of funding important local services. It is 30 percent to 40 percent of a town's revenues, and is a fairer method of taxation than the property tax. Although the excise tax initiative is being falsely sold a promoting alternative and hybrid vehicles, the truth is that it only benefits people who own late-model cars, and does not promote a healthier environment. For example, while someone who owns a 2002 Honda Civic that gets 40 mpg on the highway would get no tax benefit, someone who spends $80,000 for a new Cadillac Escalade hybrid, which gets a mere 20 mpg, would be exempt from the excise tax.
For anyone who supports public education and uses their local library, there is no doubt that they will suffer a great deal if the excise tax initiative passes. I chair the library board of trustees in Freeport, and the amount our town stands to lose if this passes is twice as much as the entire library budget. I urge you to support your town and its children, and vote against this ill-conceived and potentially disastrous initiative.