Two states, Washington and Maine, will consider ballot proposals this fall that are similar in concept to the disastrous "Taxpayer Bill of Rights," or TABOR, that Colorado enacted in 1992 to limit tax increases and cap spending by the state government.

This week, Washington State officials released their estimate of the fiscal impact from Initiative 1033, which will be on the November ballot. The Washington State Budget and Policy Center says I-1033 "would impose strict spending limits on state and local governments resulting in sharp reductions in public investments in education, community devel­opment, health care, and economic security. By restricting resources, I-1033 would dramatically weaken the state’s ability to fund important public priorities and would dimin­ish the quality of life for all Washingtonians."

The state's Office of Financial Management agrees and says, "The initiative reduces state general fund revenues that support education; social, health and environmental services; and general government activities by an estimated $5.9 billion by 2015." (This doesn't include the estimated loss of nearly $700 million for counties and $2.1 billion for cities by 2015 that would result if I-1033 is approved.) Voters in Washington would be wise get all the facts before voting in favor of this heavy-handed and unnecessary proposal.

A similarly draconian initiative will be put before the voters in Maine this fall.  Last week, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap approved the so-called TABOR II for inclusion on the November ballot.  The initiative largely reprises an earlier effort – rejected by voters in 2006 – to impose severe limits on state spending and taxes, limits that could become more constraining with each successive economic downturn.   A new and excellent report from the Maine Center for Economic Policy reviews the dangers of the current initiative and concludes that what was bad in 2006 has only gotten worse with time.  Legislators and other public leaders agree.

To learn about how you can help stop TABOR II in Maine, visit Maine Can Do Better.


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