Mainers elected a Republican governor and a Republican state Senate in 2014, but because they gave the state House of Representatives to the Democrats, the resulting state budget is $300 million higher than the last one, and total taxes were raised to pay for it.

Wait, some of you might say, I voted for Republicans to cut spending and taxes. How come both went up when two-thirds of the government was in their hands?

Because electing Democrats makes everyone subservient to their lust for more and more of your money, and they will never stop unless they are forced to — by being replaced in office.

Next month, Mainers will vote on Question 1, a perennial liberal nostrum — using everyone else’s money to pay for politicians’ campaigns — that will raise taxes even more. Predictions are that it will pass.

Predictions, however, are not reality, and voters still could wake up and turn it down — as other jurisdictions have.

In truth, although this little piece of government aggrandizement runs under the ludicrous name “Clean Elections,” there’s very little clean about the campaign to pass it.

It raises taxes to help people who want to run for public office, but who have been unable to persuade their fellow Mainers to actually put hard cash on the line to support these folks’ personal ambitions.

Thus we are voting in November for a measure that will give the least attractive and competent candidates just as much money — at your expense — as the most capable and praiseworthy among them.

Why? Because it is an article of faith in leftist circles that if you want to hold elective office, but no one will support you, then taxpayers should be required to make your dream a reality — even if the money comes from people who would never vote for the person they are forced to support.

Question 1 is intended to be funded by repealing $6 million in “corporate tax breaks.” This will provide three times the current amount allocated for public funding of campaigns.

You should vote for this only if you think every other fiscal need the state has already is receiving maximum funding.

And $6 million is just a down payment. A typical gubernatorial campaign, with six primary candidates eligible for $1 million each, rising to $2 million each in the general election for the two winners, plus another $2 million for an independent candidate, would put taxpayers on the hook for $12 million, twice the amount this measure authorizes.

And that’s just one race in one year. Consider that the bill triples allocations to candidates (House races go from $5,000 to $15,000, while Senate candidates get $60,000 instead of $20,000 — for jobs that pay $24,000 for a two-year term).

Let’s also remember that one person’s tax loophole is another person’s well-deserved incentive — which is why the Chamber of Commerce is opposing Question 1.

Who knows what keeps a business open, or makes it desirable to maintain its operations in a given location as opposed to being forced to shut down or transfer its business to a more supportive state? Being ordered to ante up to support this particular fantasy may reduce the number of jobs these businesses can offer in Maine.

And it probably will raise the prices of the products or services these businesses offer.

“Soak-the-rich” demagoguery makes a fine campaign tool, but the average Joe or Jane is the person who almost always gets soaked — because that’s where the real money is.

It’s also highly significant that a campaign “to get big money out of Maine politics” is financed by big out-of-state contributors.

As staff writer Nathan Deal noted Oct. 8 on the Maine Wire, the web journal of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, “According to an October Quarterly Report filed by Mainers for Accountable Elections, over 80 percent of the money they’ve raised for their campaign has come from out-of-state. The organization, which is behind Question 1, has raised a staggering $1.2 million in support of the referendum.”

The money has come in chunks ranging from $50,000 to $350,000 from various contributors, including a left-wing political group from Massachusetts and liberal activists from as far away as the West Coast.

Pamela Sutton, who heads Mainers Against Welfare for Politicians, an anti-Question 1 group, has raised far less money, but at least it has come from real Mainers. She says, “Out-of-state billionaires bankrolling the push to get big money out of Maine politics is the height of hypocrisy.”

So, vote for Question 1 if you don’t think politicians should have to work for your support. But if you believe they should, consider checking the “no” box instead.

At least it will show that big out-of-state money can’t buy an election.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. Email at: [email protected].

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: