But LD 1925 was fundamentally valuable, supporters say, because with a broadened sales-tax base government revenue would be less at the mercy of the boom-and-bust business cycle. Periodic drastic cuts in state services or unpopular tax increases would be less likely.

The bill’s conservative detractors argued they wanted to have cuts in government spending accompany tax reform, a position Baldacci says he shared. But louder were the cries from special-interest groups — paid-circulation newspaper publishers, beer distributors, bankers, real-estate agents, barbers and hairdressers, parts of the hospitality industry (the bill would have raised the meals and lodging tax from 7 to 8 percent), and others who did not want to collect sales taxes, pay them on services they bought, or risk seeing customers walk away because of higher price tags.

In the final amendments, some special interests like newspaper publishers and barbers and hairdressers succeeded in getting exempted. But this did not cause Baldacci to change his tune — or prevent Edmonds from changing her crucial vote.

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