Friday, July 16, 2010 in Lewiston, Maine
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State

Tax repeal PAC aims for June ballot

LEWISTON — State Sen. David Trahan, R-Waldoboro, who is organizing an effort to repeal the recently enacted tax overhaul package, said Monday that Mainers are not likely to see a repeal question on the ballot when they vote this fall.

"We're trying to get on the June ballot," he said in a phone interview.

The group Still Fed Up With Taxes, which is seeking to repeal the recently enacted tax overhaul package, announced Monday in a release it has raised more than $7,000 in donations.

"This tax reform initiative is extremely complicated and there's a lot of information out there that is in contradiction. Having a little more time for the public to understand what this bill does is going to be beneficial to the repeal effort."

Still Fed Up With Taxes, the political action committee created by Trahan, aims to repeal the law that reduces the state income tax for most Mainers from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent. The law pays for the reduction by expanding the 5 percent state sales tax to services and activities not currently taxed, such as movie tickets, miniature golf and the labor portion of auto repair bills.

Julie Flynn, Maine's deputy secretary of state, said any group wishing to repeal a law passed by the Legislature this year has until Sept. 11 to turn in the 55,087 valid signatures from Maine voters necessary to initiate a statewide referendum — which could be on the ballot during either the November or June election.

However, in order to get the repeal question on the November ballot, signatures would have to be gathered by early August, she said.

The signatures are first validated by local municipalities to ensure those who signed are registered Maine voters, then they are scrutinized by state officials. Once the office of the Secretary of State declares there are enough valid signatures, the governor issues a statewide proclamation.

"That's what gets it on the ballot, a proclamation from the governor at least 60 days before the election," Flynn said.

The petitions for the tax reform repeal were issued on June 30, according to Flynn.

As of July 5, the Still Fed Up With Taxes PAC had raised $50, according to a state campaign finance report.

In contrast, a group attempting to place a repeal question on the November ballot regarding the state's same-sex marriage law had spent about $200,000 on a professional signature gathering company, according to a state report over the same time period.

Trahan said there are hundreds of tax repeal petition gatherers that he knows of, and he reported getting calls daily from people wishing to help. One such petitioner was stationed outside the Lewiston Post Office on Ash Street on Monday morning.

"Large cinemas, small cinemas, auto dealers and a lot of folks from the automotive industry have stepped forward," he said. "I feel good that we're on pace to get our signatures."

Voter turnout is typically much lower for June elections than November elections. Several other tax-related questions will be on the ballot this fall, including attempts to cut the state excise tax and force Maine voters to approve any new taxes.

rmetzler@sunjournal.com

Govt2Big's picture

Join the fight to help lower

Join the fight to help lower Maine taxes, and make this People's Veto the beginning for a better Maine. FMI, www.MaineTaxpayers.com

tron's picture

Whether this proposal

Whether this proposal becomes law or is repeal will make not one difference in tax revenue. At the very least get the facts straight, govt2big!

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