Edgar Allen Beem isn’t concerned that out-of-state money has hijacked Maine’s referendum process (“The Universal Notebook: Government by referendum”). He says we shouldn’t worry because “fat cats from away pay the bills.”

When this election is over, however, Maine’s middle class and small business owners will pay the bill for Question 1: a 3.8 percent income tax increase costing $310 million annually.

Those of us concerned about Question 1 thought it important for people to know what’s in it. That’s why we asked the Legislature to hold a public hearing.

Beem might have learned some important facts from a hearing – things he didn’t mention in his column, or worse, reported incorrectly – including the $310 million tax hits families, not just individuals, making more than $128,400; millionaires will be eligible for benefits, even those who only spend the summer here; the private health information of elder and disabled adults, including names and addresses, will be turned over to thousands of people for electioneering purposes, without permission.

The proposal’s supporters, succored with contributions by “fat cats from away,” successfully lobbied to prevent a hearing. They want to keep people in the dark about what’s really in this referendum, and its brutal impact on our economy. Beem seems happy to assist them.

We agree that there ought to be a thoughtful discussion about the affordability of long-term care. But it’s tortured logic to suggest we do so by voting for a new program, funded by a massive tax, run by an unaccountable board at the risk of patient privacy.

Newell Augur, chairman
No on Question  1