New taxes on beverages and health care claims to be on November 4 ballot.
AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine people will have the last word on $75 million of new taxes on beverages and health care claims, now that Secretary of State Matt Dunlap today certified that the Fed Up With Taxes/YES on 1 coalition submitted more than enough signatures to put the issue to a statewide vote on November 4.
“These taxes place a significant new burden on Maine consumers and small business owners at a time when we already are struggling with the high cost of energy and just about everything else,” said Alisa Coffin, one of the six citizens who initiated the people’s veto last May and the owner the Great Impasta restaurant in Brunswick. “Maine people have had enough. If we don’t repeal these taxes now the politicians in Augusta will just continue to tax and spend. It’s time to send them a message.”
The new taxes, passed late at night in the closing days of the last legislative session without any public hearing, increase the price of beer, wine, flavored water, teas, sports drinks, juice drinks, soda, and many other popular beverages. The same legislation also created a new 1.8% tax on paid health insurance claims.
Fed Up With Taxes, a bipartisan coalition of Maine people, businesses and organizations, submitted more than 90,000 names to the Secretary of State on July 15. At that time, more than 80% of the names had already been validated by municipal clerks. The Secretary has now ruled that petitions containing 72,432 signatures were properly completed.
Newell Augur, chairman of Fed Up With Taxes/YES on 1, said that his group expected a certain number of petitions to be disqualified for technical reasons, as is usually the case with any citizen’s initiative or people’s veto, but that he was pleased that they still ended up with many more than the 55,087 signatures needed to force a vote on the new taxes.
He also said that he would not be surprised to see backers of the new taxes to launch an effort to try get more petitions thrown out.
“The same special interest groups that didn’t want a public hearing on these taxes and then spent more than $100,000 to stop Maine people from signing our petitions will probably make one last desperate attempt to keep Maine people from having their say,” Augur said. “We know that these petitions reflect how most people feel right now, and we are moving full speed ahead with our campaign to urge all Maine people who are fed up with high taxes to vote yes on question 1.”
Who We Are Fed Up With Taxes is a coalition of Maine citizens, businesses and organizations who are tired of paying high taxes. The coalition is seeking to undo a recently enacted law increasing the tax on beer and wine AND adding new taxes on flavored water, sports drinks, colas, diet colas, juice drinks AND health insurance claims. Our coalition believes Maine people should decide for themselves if they are fed up with taxes. We have organized a People’s Veto to give you that opportunity.
Contact: Newell Augur
Coalition MembersMaine State Chamber of Commerce
Maine Restaurant Association
Maine Grocers Association
Maine Innkeepers Association
Maine Oil Dealers Association
Maine Automobile Dealers Association
Maine Beverage Association
Maine Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
New England Convenience Store Association, Maine Chapter
Associated Builders and Contractors
Maine Tourism Association
Maine Merchants Association