Question 1 has overshadowed another proposal on Tuesday's ballot that is also important for the people of Maine. If approved, Question 7 would help protect one of the most important elements of Maine's economy: our working waterfront.
Currently, waterfront property on Maine's coastlines is assessed using formulas for the land's "best" possible use. Question 7 would let the Legislature use current use formulas to determine the value of waterfront property used for commercial fishing operations. In recent years, waterfront property values have skyrocketed, with out-of-state citizens willing to pay exorbitant sums for pieces of Maine's coastline. As a result, fishermen are gradually being pushed away from Maine's shores. Less than 1 percent of Maine coastline is currently considered part of the working waterfront.
This proposal's protections are already in place for farmland and forestland. The amendment would not interfere with market-based competition, since it would not interfere with the retail prices of properties. Fishermen could still sell their property as they wish.
Like Question 1, this amendment is about people?people from familiar places like Bailey Island and Harpswell. If passed, the proposal will make life just a little easier for the hard-working men, women, and families who offer so much to our state's economy and character. Since this bill is good for Maine's working waterfront and good for Maine's economy, we urge a "Yes" vote on Question 7.
The editorials represent the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board consists of the editors-in-chief and the managing editor.