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Free Advocacy SkillBuilders - Get involved!

by Jessica Lantos

There are currently four questions slated for the November 3rd ballot and the questions have been released for public comment. There are two additional initiatives that are currently under consideration.

If any of these initiatives (see below) impact your nonprofit’s mission, get involved! It is perfectly legal, within very understandable limits, to weigh in on ballot initiatives. Thanks to the generous support of Preti Flaherty in Portland and Augusta, and Eaton Peabody in Bangor, MANP will be offering FREE SkillBuilders explaining in detail these parameters.

Click on a date below for more information and to register!

September 24 – Bangor

September 21 – Portland

September 25 – Augusta

Following are the four initiatives approved for the November 3rd ballot so far:

1.) An Act to Decrease the Automobile Excise Tax and Promote Energy asks Maine voters: “Do you want to cut the rate of the excise tax on newer vehicles that owners pay to towns by about half and exempt some energy efficient vehicles from the state tax?”

The initiative proposes to cut the car excise tax in half, and eliminate the sales tax and first three years of car excise tax if you buy a new hybrid vehicle or any other vehicle that gets over 40 mpg. This would save drivers across Maine somewhere between $70 and $88 million per year, and correspondingly reduce the budget of any municipalities in the state that derive part of their annual revenues from collecting the current excise tax. If this initiative passes, municipalities in Maine could lose, by conservative estimates, approximately 40% of their non-property tax revenues.

2.) An Act to Promote Tax Relief (or TABOR 2), asks Maine voters: “Do you want to change Maine law to require voter approval for state and local tax and spending increases over certain limits?”

In short, TABOR 2 would limit government spending in accordance with an inflation plus population growth formula, and require voter approval to exceed that limit. These limits will effect spending decisions made on the town, city, county and statewide levels.

3.) An Act to Establish the Maine Medical Marijuana Act, asks voters, “Do you want to change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions and to expand the methods of distribution?”

The initiative proposes creating nonprofit dispensaries to help patients get a safe supply of their medicine. It would also establish a statewide ID card system to protect patients from arrest. This change would bring Maine’s law in line with the current laws in Rhode Island, Vermont, and most of the other medical marijuana states with a statewide ID card.

4.) An Act to Repeal the School District Consolidation Laws asks voters, “Do you want to repeal the 2007 law on school consolidation and restore the laws previously in effect?”

This referendum proposes to overturn the school consolidation law that was passed by the Maine State Legislature in 2008. That law, if it goes into effect, would reduce the number of school districts in Maine from 285 to 80.

The Transportation and Energy Bonds Measure and the Same Sex Marriage Veto are still under consideration for the November Ballot.

Ballotpedia has a complete list, description and status of Maine’s ballots initiatives.

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