Sunday, October 18, 2009

Your Referendumb Guide Resource Manual Handbook

Twice a year I write a semi-annual guide to the Maine referendumb process, which comes out biannually.

I translate the questions into language people can understand, so they can make sense of the wording and comprehend the verbiage.

Why all the repetitive redundancy? Well, it seems in all the rage in politics. This fall we have mostly questions I could swear we've voted on before.

Anyway, this week I'll deal with Questions 2, 3, and 4. Check back next week for 5 through 7. I promise not to write about Question 1 again unless I feel like it.

Question 2:  "Do you want people who can afford to buy fancy new cars to pay less tax on them so that state and local governments will have to turn around and collect the money from somebody else (you)?"

If you own any car less than six years old, your excise tax would get cut by an average of 55%. If you think they won't try to squeeze the difference out of my 1997 Ford Ranger, your last reality check must have bounced.

Whoever wrote this bill probably thought environmentalists would fall all over themselves to get behind it because it also exempts hybrids and other "highly fuel-efficient" vehicles from all taxes for three years. As it turns out, environmentalists aren't thrilled about the idea of more cars on the road, and would rather the government have enough money to keep trying to catch people who dump toxic waste into rivers.

If this were really about CO2 emissions, and not just another tax cut for the wealthy, we'd be voting on whether to cut taxes for people who can prove they drove less than 6,000 miles in the previous year.

Vote "Yes" if you just bought a brand new GMC Yukon hybrid and now can't afford groceries. Otherwise, vote "no."

Question 3: "Would you like to tell Gov. Baldacci that he is a short-sighted little twerp who is pulling us through an eight-year existential quagmire?"

Question 3 is ostensibly pointless. Yes, the governor shoved a school consolidation law down our throats, and I have yet to see any published account indicating that consolidation saved anyone money. But it's not like reversing it is going to save any money either. Districts that did what they were told aren't going to fire their new administrators and un-consolidate. 

But communities that thumbed their noses at the law would presumably be off the hook, and Baldacci would finally find out what we really think of him, after we smiled politely all these years through his dumb little restaurant stories.

Vote "Yes" if you would like to give John Baldacci the middle finger.  Vote "no" if you are related to him.  

Question 4: "Don't you wish you'd voted for Question 2, now that you have to buy a new car because you drove through a pothole the size of Isle Au Haut, and TABOR has starved funding for highway repairs and maintenance?"

Yes, let's set an arbitrary formula to dictate how much government budgets can increase from year to year. Any spending increases in a state or local budget would have earn voter approval.

Vote "yes" if you think we elect people just to go on TV and look pretty. Vote "no" if you think we vote enough already.

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