To the Editor:
Well, George H.W. Bush was “misstating” when he said that as he ran for president in 1988. But I’m stating the truth when I say it about ballot Question 1, which is coming up on Nov. 3.
Question 1 will not raise your taxes. Plain and simple.
It will greatly improve our elections in Maine, but it will not raise taxes, despite the misinformation being foisted on us by a political action committee that doesn’t want us to have accountable elections in Maine.
It is true that Question 1 will hit violators of our election laws hard. It is true that it will force into the open the names of the big-money people who buy media political ads. But the jewel in Question 1’s crown is the restoration of Maine’s famous Clean Elections law.
Maine is well-known for having the most blue-collar legislature in the country. This is due to 15 years of Maine elections held under a law which made it possible for people without massive private campaign money to run for state office using public funds. Men and women elected in this way don’t owe anything to special interests.
If you could prove you were a valid candidate by getting a certain number of $5 “qualifying” contributions from supporters, you could get a fixed amount of money for running your campaign.
If your opponent was taking private money and outspent you, you automatically got a second fixed amount to level the playing field. Some 85 percent of our candidates were running “clean.”
Then, in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court claimed that this last part violated your opponent’s free speech. Go figure. Since then, “clean” candidates have been hamstrung, unable to get the extra funding when they needed it. The number of “clean” candidates has declined from 85 percent to 50 percent.
Question 1 solves this by giving that extra funding shot-in-the-arm as soon as a candidate raises another set of $5 contributions. And that money does not come from new taxes. It comes from closing tax-giveaways to corporations that don’t perform as promised.
So with Question 1, you don’t get new taxes – you get legislators who are much more tuned into the priorities of the people of Maine and more likely to deal with taxes the way you’d want them to.
Please go to the polls on Nov. 3 and vote “yes” on Question 1 to restore our famous Clean Elections law.