While the state as a whole voted against TABOR, voters in the Lakes Region went against the grain by supporting the measure.

Statewide, Mainers voted 55 to 45 percent against Question 1, defeating the referendum that sparked considerable debate.

In Windham, 3,464 voted for TABOR compared to 2,999 votes cast against. Standish voters approved the referendum 1,870 to 1,746 votes. Raymond cast 1,136 votes in favor of TABOR and 941 against. Casco voted 876 to 731 in favor. Naples voted 962 to 701 in favor; and Sebago voters supported TABOR 480 to 322.

Some local voters were passionate in their support of Question 1. Heather Bowden of Windham voted for TABOR saying, “taxpayers are the credit card of the state, but I’m sorry, I refuse to be co-opted that way.”

Laurie Shepard of Windham, on the other hand, voted against TABOR because she believes “it doesn’t answer all the questions. I don’t think enough thought went into it. It’s a big decision with a lot of unknown questions.”

Windham voter David Ezhaya, a government teacher at Bonny Eagle High School, said he voted against TABOR based on principle.

“I have confidence in my elected officials,” Ezhaya said. “I don’t want to do it constitutionally. I want the legislators to do it. I believe in representative democracy, not mandating legislation by constitutional amendment.”

Listed as Question 1 on the ballot, the initiative known as TABOR would have capped spending at all levels of government. It would have required a two-thirds vote of the governing body – from town councils to the Legislature – and a majority vote of the people to exceed those caps and raise any taxes or fees.

The debate over TABOR was long and loud. A formidable coalition made up of groups representing cities and towns, teachers, school administrators, police and firefighters, advocates for the poor and even the Catholic Church, opposed TABOR, saying it would cut government spending too much.

The leading political action committees against TABOR raised more than $1.4 million to defeat it as compared to $340,000 raised by proponents, who circulated a petition to get it on the ballot. The biggest contributor to the anti-TABOR effort was the National Education Association, which gave $845,000 in cash contributions.

And, in the end, their message prevailed.

Dennis Bailey, a spokesman for the anti-TABOR coalition, said he was optimistic about the results.

“People did their homework. As simple and seductive as it was, they took a hard look at it and said, ‘this is not what I want.’ As much as people don’t like taxes, they couldn’t vote for it,” he said.

Proponents, led by veteran tax-fighter Mary Adams, had said the referendum would put Maine voters in charge of taxes.

The initiative gained momentum early on as a way to reduce local and state taxes. Maine has been ranked first in the nation for the last several years in terms of taxes as a percentage of income.

Recent polls showed business leaders continued to support TABOR by a 60 to 40 percent margin, even as regular voters began to be swayed by commercials that said the initiative would erode the quality of education, reduce police and fire protection and cut services for the elderly.

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