On February 23rd, the Secretary of State will announce that a new Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, initiative will appear on the November 2009 ballot.
The new TABOR would limit government spending to inflation plus population growth, and require voter approval to exceed that limit. Voters would also get the final say before the legislature can pass any new tax or tax increase.
The TABOR NOW Campaign Kickoff Fundraiser will be held on Monday, February 23rd at 6:00 pm at The Portland Club on State Street.
A similar proposal, also called TABOR, was defeated at the polls in 2006. 54% of Maine voters rejected the measure, which was seen by many as a blunt policy instrument meant to push a conservative agenda and abrogate local control.
Speaking of referenda, what's the deal with referendum backers running afoul of the law? Carol Palesky, author of the "Palesky tax cap" referendum and Seth Carey, author of last year's casino referendum have both been in the news lately. Paleksy, herself a convicted felon, passed on her tax preparation business to her daughter, who proceeded to get herself in serious legal trouble for claiming false deductions for nearly every client she served, while Carey was just suspended from the bar for thoroughly unlawerly conduct.
The decision by Maine Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Andrew Mead on the Carey case is a great read, (I especially enjoyed the part where Carey started accusing people of conspiring against him) but doesn't even address all of Carey's questionable behavior, according to the Sun Journal.
An additional complaint, filed in October, was not addressed in Mead's recent order.
In that complaint, a lawyer and professor who researches the professional development of lawyers recounted Carey's rants against the Board of Overseers of the Bar's prosecutor. Anne Corbin wrote in her complaint that Carey physically abused her German shepherd puppy, who was being trained as a therapy dog. He also refused to leave her home.
"While I was not afraid for my well-being, I was very uncomfortable and extremely wary of his 'unhinged' demeanor," she wrote in her complaint.
Seth Carey, the ethically-challenged lawyer, is no longer head of the Oxford County casino referendum effort. He's been bought out by a Vegas firm that will likely dump a ton of money into the election. Pat LaMarche is back on as spokesperson for the effort.
The referendum itself remains as pernicious as ever. Its wording would give the casino company a monopoly over gambling in the state and the group's president a seat on several state boards overseeing everything from health care efforts to education. I hope Dennis Bailey and CasinosNo! are ready for their two-front fight.