To the Editor:
I’m fed up — with the doom and gloom, misinformation campaigns that overrun the state whenever Maine’s Legislature passes good public health policies. We’ve seen it time and again.
When we banned smoking in bars and when we raised the cigarette tax, it was predicted that Mainers would flock to New Hampshire and small business would be crushed. It hasn’t happened. Therefore, I’m not convinced the beverage tax increase will have the dire consequences some might have us believe.
We are talking pennies: seven cents on a bottle of wine; less than three cents on a beer and less than seven cents on a 20-ounce soda — and Maine brewers and many Maine vintners are exempt from the increase.
Are we really even going to notice this increase? Why is it that the beverage industry will throw money by the handfuls to fight penny increases, but doesn’t worry about hurting sales or small business when they decide to increase their prices voluntarily?
If the “Fed Up with Taxes” proponents are correct that these increases are truly affecting “nearly every beverage that Maine people drink,” we have a bigger problem than I thought, making higher prices and the Dirigo Choice program even more critical.
Please vote “no” on Question 1. Increasing the tax on these beverages is good public health policy. Funding Dirigo Choice is critical to keeping our neighbors, workforce and economy healthy. Without it, we all pay a price far greater than a few pennies.
Mary Trescot, Damariscotta