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Maine School Finance and Tax Reform Act, Question 1A (2003)

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Maine Question 1A, also known as the School Finance and Tax Reform Act of 2003, was on the November 4, 2003 election ballot in Maine as an initiated state statute where it was defeated.

Election results

Petition signatures were collected to qualify Question 1A for the ballot. Under the Indirect initiated state statute rules in Maine, after the signatures were collected, the measure was presented to the Maine State Legislature, which has three perogatives when it considers a citizen initiative. It can:

  1. Approve the submitted initiative and enact it into law.
  2. Decline to act on it, in which case it goes on the statewide ballot for a vote of the people.
  3. Decline to act on it, but propose alternative legislative measures addressing the same topic as the initiative.

In the case of Question 1A, the state legislature took the third option, and placed two competing measures, 1B and 1C on the ballot.

  • Votes for 1A: 185,392 (37.8%) Approveda
  • Votes for 1B: 171,782 (35.0%) Defeatedd
  • Votes for 1C: 133,349 (27.2%) Defeatedd

Question 1A got the most votes and hence, was approved.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Voters are asked to choose among the following alternatives:

(1A) to adopt a proposed law initiated by petition, (1B) to adopt a competing measure approved by the Legislature for submittal to the voters, or (1C) to reject both. A voter may vote for only one of these three options.

Question 1B, approved by the Legislature for submittal to the voters as a competing measure to the citizen initiative described previously, would increase the State;’s share of funding kindergarten to grade 12 public education from 50% to 55% over five years. It would establish the new essential programs and services model, adopted by the Legislature this spring, as the basis for calculating state and local shares of education funding. The Commissioner of Education would determine the maximum dollar amount of the local cost share expectation, as well as the local mill rate that is required to raise the total amount.

This measure also would expand the Maine Residents Property Tax Program, commonly referred to at as the "circuit breaker" program, by increasing the income eligibility limits over a 3-year period, as well as by increasing the amount of taxes that would be refundable as a percentage of household income.

In addition, the measure would restore the Maine Homestead Property Tax Exemption for up to the just value of $7,000 for all homesteads owned by permanent residents of the state. This exemption had been eliminated by budget legislation enacted this spring.

The Department of Education and the Bureau of Revenue Services would be required by January 2, 2010 to analyze and report on the effectiveness of this resolution in lowering property taxes and in meeting the goals of funding public education. The Legislature'’s taxation committee would report out new legislation, if necessary, by March 1, 2010, to accomplish those goals.

See also

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