Maine Green Independent Party Voter Guide
Question 1: People's Veto Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?
Maine ought to be proud to uphold this long overdue piece of legislation. The institution of marriage is at least partially defined by our government in that issues such as tax benefits and rights of survivorship are automatically granted to married couples. If the institution of marriage is available to some loving couples, it ought to be available to all.
Question 2: Citizen Initiative Do you want to cut the rate of the municipal excise tax by an average of 55% on motor vehicles less than six years old and exempt hybrid and other alternative-energy and highly fuel-efficient motor vehicles from sales tax and three years of excise tax?
Municipalities count on excise taxes for local up-keep of roadways, and should not be subjected to the proposed revenue cuts without any explanation of alternative funding mechanisms. The MGIP believes in decentralization, and the philosophy that municipalities are the best equipped to understand their unique needs. An across-the-board reduction in excise tax runs contrary to that philosophy by mandating that towns find a way to make up for the lost revenue, or simply go without necessary services.
The MGIP supports tax structures that encourage Mainers to use bus, rail and other alternative transportation. A reduction to the excise tax would promote the sales and production of new vehicles, and give a tax break to individuals able to afford new vehicles. This will put more cars on the road in a time when we need to be moving away from the old model of an automobile-centric transportation system and towards a new era of clean, affordable, and convenient public transit.
Question 3: Citizen Initiative Do you want to repeal the 2007 law on school district consolidation and restore the laws previously in effect?
The MGIP has supported the school consolidation repeal effort from the beginning, and many MGIP members worked on the campaign to repeal consolidation. The party believes that individual municipalities are the best equipped to assess their structural and financial needs. Some areas of the state may benefit from consolidation, while others stand to lose out significantly. Communities are best equipped to assess the potential benefits (or lack thereof) of school consolidation.
Question 4: Citizen Initiative Do you want to change the existing formulas that limit state and local government spending and require voter approval by referendum for spending over those limits and for increases in state taxes?
This proposal (Tabor II) would cap the level of government spending according to a formula that does not adequately account for social services such as education and health-care. The MGIP believes that a crucial role of the government is to provide needed services to its people, especially those least able to provide for themselves. If passed, this proposal would essentially tie the hands of Maine's state and municipal governments to perform the basic function of providing social services to the people of Maine.
Question 5: Citizen Initiative Do you want to change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions and to create a regulated system of distribution?
Predominantly, this proposal refines the existing medical marijuana laws already on the books in Maine. Maine already has medical marijuana, but this proposal sets guidelines for production, distribution, and consumption. The MGIP supported medical marijuana when it originally passed, and supports this refining initiative.
Particularly, the MGIP applauds the aspect of this proposal that allows for the creation of non-profit dispensaries in Maine. Removing for-profit motive ensures that dispensaries remain true to the purely medicinal task for which they are chartered, and leaves the medical marijuana industry less subject to profit-driven corruption.
Question 6: Bond Issue Do you favor a $71,250,000 bond issue for improvements to highways and bridges, airports, public transit facilities, ferry and port facilities, including port and harbor structures, as well as funds for the LifeFlight Foundation that will make the State eligible for over $148,000.000 in federal and other matching funds?
The MGIP supports this question with a caveat. Philosophically, the party would like to see a shift in our approach to transportation in Maine that favors a rail-based infrastructure with commuter access among other alternative methods of travel - an infrastructure designed to get Mainers out of their cars and into more sustainable mechanisms of transit. This bond will allocate the vast majority of funds to highway and bridge repair, while allocating disproportionately small amounts to rail and other important areas.
Nevertheless, the bond includes funding for many important infrastructural improvements including ports, ferry, rail, and life flight. And, the funding for road improvements will relieve many Mainers located in rural areas. Rural road conditions are taxing to vehicle maintenance, creating an immediate hardship especially for low and fixed-income Mainers that rely on roads as a primary mode of transportation.
As a fiscally conservative party, the MGIP always encourages careful consideration of bond issue referendum questions. But given the state of Maine's transit infrastructure in this recessionary time, the MGIP feels that the pros of this proposal outweigh the cons.
Question 7: Constitutional Amendment Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to increase the amount of time that local officials have to certify the signatures on direct initiative petitions?
The MGIP backs the referendum process as a right of the people of Maine. Referendum serves as a check in the balance between the state government and the people that government represents. Thus, in order to endorse this question the MGIP made sure that it would not negatively impact the timeframe for petitioners to collect signatures. A yes to question 7 will simply alleviate the hardships of understaffed municipal clerks to verify signatures of direct initiative petitions.