Maine Libraries Face Possible Budget Crisis If Tax Measure Passes

The Curmudgeony Librarian writes "Maine libraries are faced with the possibility of closure or the need to charge for library cards. The reason for this crisis is a statewide property tax cap on the November 2nd ballot.
The tax proposal, if passed, would cap property taxes at 1 percent of a property’s assessed value. According to the librarians, this would leave almost all Maine libraries with massive budget gaps as well as seriously impacting other community services. Proponents of the tax cap dismiss the concerns as "scare tactics" claiming that there are ways for the libraries to cut their budgets without cutting services. What will happen to the Maine libraries? Only Election Day will tell."


... that's going to cause the problem, its the retro to 1996 level property taxes that is going to cause the problem. I talked a little bit about it on Day 2 of my NELA review:

"One interesting sidenote that I had been familiar with but didn’t know the details at the time: the rep from Maine talked about the tax bill being voted on in November which would be similar to Massachusetts Prop 2 ½ but instead of 2 ½ % increases it would only allow 1% *plus* it would role back property taxes to 1996 levels. This would be a huge hit to town budgets. Its also an example of just how mercenary some professions will be. Chances are a lot of libraries will be outright closed in order to avoid serious cuts in police and fire department. Which sort of misses the point. Maine is one of the highest taxed states in the Union but its still a lot cheaper to live there then here in Mass. Town employees could afford to take a pay cut across the board but when all is said and done its not about what’s best for the town its about what’s best for their own wallet, and the bigger departments always win. I was raised in Blaine, which isn’t even a town; I went to school in Mars Hill, which is just barely a town. I’m from the northend of Maine, which has been used, abused, and ignored by the southend for a while now. At this point I’m for the tax cut, as harsh as it is, sometimes it just has to be that way. If ALA wants to do something positive they can keep a tally of every library that gets closed and make note of what cuts are made in other departments if any. Call it an experiment in community stupidity."