Commentary

Ballot Questions Would Take Maine Backwards

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We have made progress to lower the income tax, fight the drug epidemic, create jobs and get Mainers more involved in their local elections. But activists are working hard to reverse this progress. They want to take Maine backwards.

These activists have put questions on the November ballot to increase taxes, legalize drugs, destroy entry-level jobs and determine the outcome of elections in an unconstitutional manner.

We have fought for five years to reduce the income tax from 8.5 to 7.15%. We want to gradually phase it out until it is gone. It would be the biggest wage increase we can give to Mainers.

But the union bosses at the Maine Education Association are asking Mainers to add another 3% tax to the income-tax burden of modestly successful Mainers. They want an extra tax so they can spend more money on education.

It would drive the income tax to 10% for Mainers and small business owners making over $200,000. This punishes Mainers who have worked hard their entire lives and who are already paying their fair share of taxes. Even worse, the Maine education system has plenty of money, especially since student enrollment is declining every year.

Instead of taxing successful people, we should be making our school system more effective and more efficient. Increasing taxes is the wrong way to go.

Artificially increasing wages is also the wrong way to go. Welfare activists at the Maine People’s Alliance are asking Maine voters to approve a drastic increase in the minimum wage. It will increase labor costs so much that small businesses will have to raise their prices.

This hurts the elderly and those on fixed incomes. They will not get a raise. As prices rise, these folks will be forced to pay higher costs for food and other basic necessities. It will put a major burden on those already struggling to get by.

Maine People’s Alliance also wants to eliminate the tip credit for servers. Restaurant workers who make $20 to $30 an hour during the summer will suddenly make $12 an hour. This will devastate students trying to earn money for college and workers who rely on tips for the majority of their income.

Other activists are asking Maine voters for permission to get high. They want to legalize marijuana. Although many say smoking marijuana is not harmful, it is known as a gateway drug that can lead to addiction to other drugs, such as heroin and other opiates. We have been working hard to combat the drug crisis facing this state, and we fear that legalizing marijuana may make it worse.

Activists say they want to treat marijuana like alcohol. But there is no way to tax something you can grow in your backyard, and it is difficult for law enforcement officials to determine if someone is too high to be driving. Maine is not ready to legalize another drug.

Maine is also not ready to ignore its constitution and allow ranked-choice voting. Officials who get a plurality of votes win the election. It’s that simple.

This is just another way for sore losers to try and overturn election results they don’t like. In the last election, liberals outspent me by more than two-to-one, but I still got more votes than any other Governor in Maine history.

If liberals want to win elections with a majority of votes, then they need to put up candidates who will work on the issues Mainers really care about—not a failed socialist ideology. Ignoring our constitution is not the way to do it.

In November, they will ask you to vote for more taxes, more drugs, more labor costs and more complicated elections. Just say no.

About Paul LePage

Governor Paul LePage (R) has served as the 74th Governor of Maine since 2011. Prior to his time as governor, LePage served as the general manager of Marden's and as the mayor of Waterville.

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