Maine Women Online

The Maine Women's Lobby is dedicated to legislative action on behalf of Maine women and girls. Since our formation in 1978, we have held true to the vision that women and girls should have economic security, access to health care, and freedom from violence and discrimination.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The following post is from Ed Cervone from the Maine Center for Economic Policy about the dangers of the Taxpayor Bill of Rights or TABOR.

Women Beware: Colorado-style TABOR Coming to Maine

In November, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights will likely be on Maine’s ballot, pending certification of petition signatures. TABOR, as it is commonly known, is legislation designed to place a cap on all state and local spending and limit increases in taxes and fees. Its effects go far beyond that. TABOR would shrink Maine government every year and tie the hands of elected officials, constraining critical public programs like transportation, higher education, and emergency services. Colorado, the only state to adopt the legislation, learned this lesson the hard way.

TABOR is defined primarily by its spending growth formula - annual population change + inflation. If population grows 1% from the past year and inflation grows 2% then spending may increase by 3%. If I spent $10 last year, I could spend $13 this year.

TABOR is also defined by its restrictions on how money is raised. First, restrictions require that all money collected in excess of the spending limit be refunded to taxpayers. For example, if I collect $15 in taxes and fees this year and my spending limit is $13, I have to give $2 back, regardless of whether it is needed. Second, restrictions require that if officials either want to raise the spending limit or increase a tax or fee the proposal must first pass a super majority of the ruling body (two-thirds approval) and be put to a popular vote -every single time. This would cover everything from raising a sales tax to increasing a fee at a local transfer station.

The Colorado experience shows us that the TABOR formula consistently underestimated the cost of services and set spending limits well below public need every year. Undesirable outcomes like the loss of public programs, the closure of community colleges and state parks, and the deterioration of roadways resulted. Elected officials were unable to react quickly because of TABOR’s restrictions. Even the refunds, in good years, did not help. Taxpayers ended up spending more out of pocket for lost services than their refund checks offered. As a result, Colorado, in a bipartisan showing, voted to suspend TABOR in 2005.

As voters consider this legislation, they must remember that Maine’s TABOR is essentially the same as Colorado’s – it uses the same formula - and would have the same effects. These effects would be felt by everyone, but would have a particularly devasting impact on the programs Maine women depend on. The bottlom line: TABOR threatens services valued by Maine communities. In the end we would end up spending more to make up for what was lost.

Along with the potential threat of TABOR, Mainers will undoubtedly be affected by the recent federal budget cuts to programs that assist low-income families, children and individuals. The state of Maine can not afford to pass TABOR, compensate for these budget cuts and expect to maintain social programs that protect our way of life.

Monday, January 30, 2006




Maine People Turn Out to Urge a "No" Vote on Alito

The Lewiston campus of the University of Southern Maine was the site of an energetic and, at times, contentious town hall meeting about the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito last Thursday night. Members of the community directed questions and comments to a staff representative from Senator Snowe's office (Senator Collins' office didn't send anyone) in a packed town hall meeting which took place between 7-8:30pm, asking, “Senator Snowe, Senator Collins, will you vote to protect the rights of Maine people—yes or no?”

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hard at work in Biddeford.



Brittney in front of the Rolling Justice van.



Kickoff to Rolling Justice in Augusta.

Rolling Justice Tour a Big Success

Thanks to all of you who participated in the Rolling Justice tour last week. The goal of the tour was to travel to communities across Maine to educate and encourage people to call Senator Snowe and Senator Collins asking them to oppose the nomination of Judge Sam Alito to the Unites States Supreme Court. We gathered petition signatures, lent out our cell phones for people to call the Senators and talked to the press.

If you didn't get a chance to participate in Rolling Justice - there is still a chance to get involved. Please consider doing one - or all of the following actions- to stop the confirmation of Judge Alito.

First, write a letter to the editor to your local paper expressing your concerns about Judge Alito's record on reproductive privacy, workers' rights, environmental protections, or disability rights.

Second, call Senator Snowe (202.224.5344) and Senator Collins (202.224.2523). Leave your name and address and tell our Senators to stand up for Maine people and oppose the nomination of Judge Sam Alito.

Third, call (207.622.0851) or email (info@mainewomen.org) the Maine Women's Lobby for upcoming events and activities relating to the confirmation of Judge Sam Alito.

For more information or assistance with any of these actions please email info@mainewomen.org

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Activists Take it to the Streets

Please join the Maine Women’s Lobby and members of the Fair and Independent Courts Coalition during the week of December 12 in a nationwide effort to draw attention to the nomination of Judge Sam Alito to the Supreme Court and give Mainers a chance to express their concerns about his troubling record.

Allies and activists will be getting in a van and traveling throughout the state to get people talking within their communities about what his confirmation could mean for Maine people. Local media outlets will be invited to cover the campaign in different areas of the state as we talk with people and gather petition signatures in stores, coffee shops and other gathering places.

We need activists to make the trips with us as well as local contacts at each stop to be present. We also need one or two people to act as key point people to talk to the press. We will provide talking points.

This will be a particularly good opportunity for local activists to state their personal objections and thoughts on the nomination of Judge Alito. If you are interested in traveling in the van or meeting us in one of the above locations, please email organizer@mainewomen.og to sign up.

Augusta
Monday, December 12
10 am
Hall of Flags, State House

Bangor
Tuesday, December 13
10 am
In front of the Post Office
202 Harlow Street

Bar Harbor
Tuesday, December 13
12:45 am
13 Albert Meadow

Belfast
Monday, December 12
12:15 pm
In front of Coyote Moon
54 Main Street

Biddeford
Wednesday, December 14
11:00 am
In front of BeBe’s Burritos
140 Main Street, #103

Camden
Monday, December12
1:15 pm
In front of ABCD Books
23 Bayview Street

Caribou
Friday,
December 16
10 am
In front of Tim Horton’s
109 Bennett Drive

Ellsworth
Tuesday, December 13
11:30 pm
In front of the Riverside Café
151 Main Street

Houlton
Friday, December 16
12:45 pm
Military Street, Town Park

Kennebunkport
Wednesday, December 14
11:45 am
The Monument at Dock Square

Presque Isle
Friday, December 16
11:15 am
In front of the North Eastland Hotel
436 Main Street

Rockland
Monday, December 12
1:45 pm
In front of Rockland Café
441 Main Street

Scarborough
Wednesday, December 14
10 am
In front of Lois Natural
152 US Route 1

York
Wednesday,December 14
12:45 pm
In front of Rick’s Restaurant
240 York Street