What’s Wrong With This Story?

The narrative goes something like this:

The Maine Legislature and Governor require all Maine schools to provide certain “essential” services.  This is out of a sense of fairness for all Maine school children, wherever they may live.  Everyone is entitled to a minimum education.

Many localities struggle to pay the costs of these minimum services from local property taxes.

The people vote through a citizens’ initiative and tell the Legislature and Governor that the State shall pay 55% of the costs of these essential services.

The Legislature and Governor choose not to do so, because paying this much is hard.  It would mean either higher taxes or cuts in other worthy programs.

The people say OK, if you won’t figure out how to do this, we will tell you.  Maine citizens pass another initiative.  The voters approve additional State funding for schools through an tax on the income over $200,000 of Maine’s wealthiest citizens.

The Governor and Republicans in the Legislature refuse any budget that includes this tax on the wealthy.  They believe that they are smarter than the people of Maine.

Democrats capitulate on the income tax surcharge in order to keep Maine government running.  They support a compromise budget.

Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Governor decide to shut down the people’s government anyway.

What’s wrong with this story?

Mark W. Anderson

About Mark W. Anderson

I am proud to be a Mainer, born in Caribou and schooled at Brewer High School, Bowdoin College, and the University of Maine. I am grateful for a 35 year career at UMaine, the last decade in the School of Economics.