Friday, October 3, 2008

Your Personal Votation Device

Normally, around this time, I give my readers a quick rundown of the important issues facing us as the election nears.

But this time, I’m going to profile the two major referendum questions instead.

You’ve probably seen all those ads from the citizen coalition called Fed Up With Taxes (formerly known as Fed Up With Death, and, before that, Fed Up With Gravity).

In one ad, the owner of an ice cream stand bemoans the impact the new soda and beer tax is having on his business.

“We have no choice but to pass that expense along to the consumer,” he says.

Hm. I already knew a lot of Maine families are headed for some tough times, but it looks like the reason is not as obvious as I thought.

A winter of high energy prices? Bank accounts gutted by fiscal mismanagement? A whole season without Tom Brady?

Nah. The big problem is that we can no longer afford to buy soda and beer, irreplaceable staples in the American diet.

"Maine families are struggling right now," said Fed Up With Taxes spokeshuman Newell Augur, as quoted in the York Weekly. "It's absolutely the worst time for state government to be asking people to pay more money.”

The tax is three cents on a beer and four cents on a can of soda.

Those might seem like trivial amounts, but trust me, Mr. Augur knows the drill (ha!).

Considering how much of these beverages we consume, especially in winter, this tax probably costs the average Mainer several thousand dollars a month.

No wonder the movement to repeal it has so much support. It couldn’t possibly nothing to do with the fact that revenues from this tax go to support the Dirigo health initiative.

Either we pay some sort of tax to keep Dirigo afloat, or lots of people are going to lose health care. As long as those particular people are not the ones I spend any significant time with, I’d rather get my Mountain Dew Float four cents cheaper, thank you very much.

That way, when I get diabetes, I can use all the money I saved to afford my insulin shots and doctor visits.

So be sure to vote “Yes” on Question 1. I realize this is a little confusing; it seems like you’d be saying “yes” to the tax, but you’re actually saying “yes” to those who are against not repealing the tax.

Vote “no” if you oppose the people who don’t want you to not keep more of your own money for use on self-destructive fetters on society.

Which brings me to Question 2, which is getting less attention in the media because it only applies to people with a sense of decency.

It’s vague wording doesn’t help, either:

“Do you favor giving permission to allow some guys to build some sort of structure, somewhere in Oxford County, that may be used for gambling, at least for a while, with an unspecified share of profits going to causes that may or may not be completely pointless and wasteful?”

Details are scarce. The latest news is that some architect has drawn a picture of what the building might look like.

Also, the casino backers admit the legislature will have to tinker with the law even if voters approve it.

So you might as well smear brown finger paint on your ballot as far as Question 2 is concerned.

Me, I’m going to form a new citizen group. It’s called Fed Up With Pointless Referenda.

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