Museum dreams

By AL DIAMON  |  August 24, 2011

"The bottom line is we still have not delivered on the promise that elected officials have been delivering to their citizens, and that's tax relief," said former GOP elected official and unsuccessful leader of a property-tax referendum Phil Harriman of Yarmouth in a 2005 Portland Press Herald article.

In 2006, it was Democratic Governor John Baldacci's turn: "People are being taxed out of their homes by increasing property taxes and we need to allow people to stay in their homes."

"Many of us ran for office with property tax relief as a top priority, and I believe the time for action is now," wrote Democratic state Senator Phil Bartlett of Gorham in his own 2007 op-ed.

But in spite of a variety of ineffective reforms, unpalatable referendums, and unworkable proposals, nothing much happened that actually reduced property tax bills. In the 2010 gubernatorial race, the issue was hardly mentioned. Soon after, LePage and the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a budget that shifted significant costs onto cities and towns — reduced aid to education, less state money for general assistance — which will almost certainly translate into higher property tax bills over the next two years.

You might expect the same proto-Tea Party activists who badgered municipal officials in the '80s and '90s over every fractional increase in the mil rate to be gearing up for an old-fashioned tax revolt because of state-mandated tax hikes. But those people are all in love with the guv, so they're suddenly as silent as taxidermed taxpayers.

They'll look great in a new museum diorama called "Suckers."

Exhibit some outrage by emailingaldiamon@herniahill.net.

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