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Deeper cuts in funding for state and local services avoided with rejection of TABOR

Maine and Washington voters deliver victory for students, schools and communities

WASHINGTON - November 04, 2009 -

Voters in Maine and Washington states have resoundingly rejected radical initiatives that would have forced even deeper cuts in funding for schools, health care, senior programs, transportation and other state and local governmental services. Maine voters have now rejected versions of the proposal three times since 2004.

The original initiative, so-called “Tax Payer Bill of Rights (or TABOR),” was patterned after an amendment adopted by Colorado voters in 1992.

Voters suspended the Colorado TABOR in 2005 after the spending limits it imposed had hamstrung the state’s economy and caused unacceptable reductions in critical state and local services. A report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that “TABOR has hampered economic growth and reduced quality of life in Colorado.”

The Maine TABOR proposal, Question 1, was defeated 60% to 40%. Chris Galgay, president of the Maine Education Association said: “TABOR would have had a devastating impact on our classrooms, and we are pleased that the voters of Maine chose to protect the high quality of our programs and the learning opportunities for our students.”

The Washington TABOR, Initiative 1033, was rejected 55% to 44%. “With Initiative 1033’s failure, we can ensure Washington’s infrastructure and higher education systems remain competitive with other states and nations around the globe,” said George Allen of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

“Voters have seen harm caused by the recession in their classrooms, communities and businesses, and they understand that gimmicks like these initiatives would have made things worse,” said Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association. “We’re happy but not surprised that the push by Grover Norquist and other anti-government ideologues to ‘nationalize TABOR’ has been turned back.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,