A vitally important question will appear on Maine's ballot this coming November, and once again, conscientious voters will be urged to vote "No on 1." Question 1 this year is the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, commonly referred to as TABOR. Though the convoluted and misleading language presents itself as greater voter control over taxes, the question presents, in essence, an irrational and completely unfeasible cap on spending in Maine.

To most voters, the idea of reducing taxes may sound appealing. However, while there are effective ways to decrease governmental spending, TABOR is, without question, not one of them. The language of the question is as follows:

Do you want to limit increases in state and local government spending to the rate of inflation plus population growth and to require voter approval for all tax and fee increases?

Though seemingly benign, the process through which government spending would be capped is arbitrary and disastrous. The "rate of inflation and population" growth has no logical connection to government spending. While the question is presented under the auspice of providing more voter control over taxation, it would in reality cripple Maine's state spending, and ultimately Maine's economy. Furthermore, the government spending for the coming fiscal year is determined by the amount of government spending from the previous year, which would cause a spiraling drainage of Maine's ability to sustain public services.

One of those key services is the health sector. The state of HMOs and healthcare in America is a severe challenge for too many Americans. A cap on spending would mean that the government would no longer be able to sustain current levels of public healthcare assistance, forcing thousands of low-income workers to live without medical insurance. TABOR supporters have repeated false statistics, misleading the public into believing that it will benefit the economy. In reality, TABOR will force the government to stop investing in public works, transportation infrastructure, education, environmental protection, and other programs vital to economic growth. The bill is dangerously shortsighted and poorly planned.

One look at Colorado's TABOR legacy from more than 10 years ago may suggest what the future for Maine would be if TABOR were to be implemented. According to the Bangor Daily News, "[A] school in the Rocky mountains [ran] out of money to pay for heat. Children [wore] parkas and mittens while the PTA fundraised for heat, books, even reams of paper." Public teacher salaries dropped from 30th to 50th in the country (Hutchinson News). TABOR has eroded state support for enforcement of clean air and water regulation. TABOR has severely crippled Colorado's state economy, and will only do the same for Maine if it is implemented here. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike have agreed upon TABOR's inevitable destructiveness.

We urge voters to learn more about the issue by checking out www.notabor.org or searching for other information online. When Election Day comes this November, we urge all voters to vote No on 1, and cast a vote for a promising and vibrant future in Maine.

Shelley Barron '09 is a co-chair of the Democratic Left and J. Patrick Brown '08 is a co-chair of Bowdoin Students for Peace.