Maine Senate votes down tax cut referendum bill

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A proposal for a referendum asking voters if they want to cut taxes and government spending was nixed by the Maine Senate on Wednesday.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 21-13, mostly along party lines, in favor of rejecting the bill backed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Under the measure, the state would ask voters if they want to lower income tax rates, implement alternative taxes and reduce overall tax revenues and government spending by at least $100 million to “make Maine more economically competitive and improve the job creation environment.”

Republican lawmakers and LePage have said that voters should get a say on how the government spends its money.

“I think it’s a great way to connect government to the people we serve,” said Sen. Douglas Thomas, a Republican from Ripley who is sponsoring the bill, which now heads to the House of Representatives.

But Democrats have slammed the bill merely an election-year gimmick and said that voters have already turned down similar proposals.

Assistant Democratic Senate Leader Anne Haskell of Portland called the bill bad policy and said voters already get a say on these issues when they chose their government representatives on election day.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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