Voters Have Clear Choices in Special Election for Rockland-Area House Seat

By Betts, Stephen | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), February 23, 2015 | Go to article overview

Voters Have Clear Choices in Special Election for Rockland-Area House Seat


Betts, Stephen, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


ROCKLAND, Maine -- The four candidates for a House seat representing Rockland and Owls Head have different opinions on Gov. Paul LePage's proposed state budget.

A special election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 10, to fill the vacancy created when Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson of Rockland resigned last month, one month after being sworn into a second term.

The candidates, all from Rockland, include Democrat Anne Beebe- Center, Republican James Kalloch, Green independent Ron Huber and Libertarian Shawn Levasseur.

Kalloch said he supports the governor's proposal to phase out the income tax while extending the sales tax to include services.

"A sales tax makes more sense than an income tax. It will take awhile to phase in but it will raise more money and spread it out among more people," Kalloch said.

Beebe-Center said she was worried that eliminating revenue sharing so abruptly would end up raising property taxes.

"Our town is already struggling under current revenue sharing cuts and infrastructure demands, and I don't want to see key services underfunded, especially our schools," Beebe-Center said.

She also criticized the governor's plan to tax nonprofits, saying it would hurt the thriving arts scene and the museums and nonprofits that make Rockland so unique.

Levasseur said he supports cutting the income tax. He said the tax cuts would help all income levels and not just the rich. The Libertarian said, however, he opposes expansion of the sales tax, pointing out that Maine voters rejected it a few years ago. Levasseur said he is especially appalled by the proposed taxation of nonprofit organizations.

Huber contended that the governor's budget was not a balanced one. The Green independent said the proposed tax shift would increase inequality and poverty.

"Instead we should graduate income taxes fairly and extend the sales tax only in products deemed worthy of a 'sin tax' and/or an 'ego tax' boost on nonessentials over a certain set price," Huber said.

Huber said he was running because the other candidates don't grasp the economic, cultural and environmental importance of the communities' chief renewable resources -- lobsters and other seafood species.

Huber said it was critical to have a national health care system like other first-world nations and "stop seeming to insist that enriching vast absentee insurance companies is a key priority of health care. …

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