The text of Gov. LePage’s State of the State address Tuesday included a mention of the “broken referendum process.” This is an issue that I and many of my friends and colleagues have discussed for some time.

Approved by voters in 2016, then repealed by the Legislature last year, the referendum mandating a 3 percent surcharge on the top 2 percent of earners for the funding of education brought this issue to the forefront.

More recently, I was asked to sign a petition calling for a referendum on home care for the elderly, to be funded by a tax on income over $128,400. What’s next? People who live on Allen Avenue in Portland paying the car payments of the rest of the state?

How can the majority of the population of this state dictate the tax burden of a much smaller percentage of the population without this going through the proper legislative process? How can these citizen initiatives – funded by outside liberal activists such as George Soros, per the Feb. 4 Portland Press Herald article “Maine ballot effort would mandate home care for elderly, disabled” – actually become law? We elect lawmakers to develop tax policy. This is taxation without representation.

Those advocating for these new taxes fail to appreciate their long-term effect. A number of my fellow employees and friends are seriously contemplating (if they haven’t already done so) relocating to New Hampshire, Florida and/or Texas (where my company is based) to avoid Maine’s high taxes. High-wealth individuals already establish residency in other states toward the end of their careers.

This all leads to fewer people (most with limited financial means) assuming a greater tax burden, as high-quality (and young) professionals leave Maine or look elsewhere for work.

The referendum process has been hijacked. What are our lawmakers doing to address this? Our elected officials represent all constituents, not just the left.

Roger Routh

Portland