18 Sep The Truth Be Told…
I received a Legislative update recently in which Senator Dow wrote “..we made the largest one-time investment in education in Maine history, putting the state’s share of funding for local public schools at 55%..” Sadly, there are two things very wrong with that statement.
1 – The truth is, state funding of education is not 55% in spite of a law requiring that passed in 2004 by Maine voters. The state law for the budget says “(13) For fiscal year 2017-18, the target is 49.14%. (14) For fiscal year 2018-19, the target is 50.14%.” It’s in the section on pages 631-632 of the state budget. Very clear.
2 – Truthfully, that increase in education funding is not the highest. Maine people were tired of the legislature failing to fund 55% and in 2016 the People of Maine also passed Question 2 to get it done. That made the biggest increase because it provided sustainable funding of 55% of education (a higher increase than 49.14 percent, or even 50.14%).
While Dow mentions overturning a 3% surtax, he doesn’t tell you that he lead the charge on giving that tax break to wealthier Mainers, nor that doing so was overturning sustainable 55% funding of education – a law passed by a vote of Maine people – only to be replaced with an unsustainable lesser percentage of education funding.
Education is important to our children’s and our grandchildren’s future. For seniors and many families on limited income, so too is the property tax burden of picking up the difference when the state shirks its responsibility to fund 55% of education.
Which makes me wonder why he wrote in the same Legislative Update the following:
“To summarize, the fiscal reforms that have been put into place under Republican leadership are working, putting Maine into a better position to succeed going forward.” and “Homeowners, particularly the elderly on fixed incomes, continue to feel the squeeze of property taxes.”
Certainly Maine students would be in a better position to succeed if Sen. Dow had let the will of the people stand to sustainably fund 55% of education.
Homeowners would feel less of a squeeze of property taxes if Sen. Dow had let the will of the people stand to sustainably fund 55% of education.
We deserve a State Senator that won’t work against the will of voters, nor give tax breaks to the top earning 2% by decreasing education funding, thus shifting greater burden onto property taxes. To me, that’s not how you make addressing the squeeze of property taxes a priority.
Now Dana is sending mailers (Paid for and authorized by the Candidate) stating “Secured the largest amount of state education funding in Maine’s history, providing property tax relief and improving quality.” No 55% claim, but it’s still ignoring that the largest amount of state education funding in Maine’s history was provided by the law he worked to overturn. The funding secured in doing so is only second highest, providing less property tax relief and less support of improving education quality, and frankly has no sustainable source to maintain even that lesser level of funding in years to come.
The truth does matter, and I would appreciate more of the truth in taxpayer funded updates and in campaign literature.