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Not-so-good old days
Good grief, people are fretting again about "out-of-state, special interest money influencing elections" here in Maine, as if it was something new. Seventy years ago, on December 5, 1941, the Advertiser-Democrat carried the following:
THE SECRET IS OUT
Prominent Speakers In Opposition To The Proposed One-half Cent Increase In The Gas Tax Are Being Paid For Their Services
This information came to light at a public meeting in Gorham, Me., Saturday evening, Nov. 29, when a debate took place on the question between Representative Holman of Dixfield, sponsor of the bill, and Mr. Sullivan, secretary of the Petroleum Industries for Maine.
Mr. Holman read from the Public Laws of Maine 1941, Chapter 301 Section 3 to prove that the one-half cent increase which is proposed, will not be effective after July 1, 1943. Many people do not know that, but are led by the opposition to believe that it will be permanent.
Mr. Holman stated that the average motorist uses about five hundred gallons of gasoline a year. This extra one-half cent tax will cost him two dollars and fifty cents a year or three dollars and seventy-five cents for the entire period that the tax will be collected.
By the passage of the tax and only by its passage, will the “Holman Bill” become law. If the “Holman Bill” becomes a law, it will enable every town and city in the state of Maine to save money in its road maintenance program. In most of the large cities and large towns this saving will be between $3,000 and $5,000. That is not a great reduction in taxes per year, but over a period of ten years it amounts to $30,000 and up to $50,000. In the smaller towns, however, it will make it possible to reduce the tax rate all the way up to $15.00 per $1,000 valuation. In many towns the saving will be between $3.00 and $7.00 per $1,000 valuation.
Mr. Sullivan, in speaking against the bill said the proponents of the bill stated very frankly during the last day of the legislature, that this would be just the beginning of higher gasoline taxes. Mr. Holman denied this statement, and said that it is just the beginning of a reduction in property taxes in Maine, but that at the present time the proponents of this program have no idea of asking for any additional gasoline tax to carry out their plan.
Upon being questioned by members of the audiences after the debate, Mr. Sullivan admitted that he knows nothing about the “Holman Bill” and claimed that the “Holman Bill” is not the issue. That the only issue is the gas tax bill. Dr. Richard F. Chase of Baldwin reminded Mr. Sullivan that the “Holman Bill” is the real issue although it does not appear on the ballot.
Dr. Chase asked Mr. Sullivan why so many prominent speakers in Maine are opposed to this small increase in the gas tax for one and one-half years. This question was not answered and Dr. Chase stated that he understands that Roy Fernald was paid to debate this question with F. Ardine Richardson, master of the Maine State Grange, in Portland, a few evenings ago. This statement was not denied by Mr. Sullivan, although as secretary of the Petroleum Industries in Maine, he should be in a position to deny it if it is not true.
Dr. Chase then stated that he would like to know if the person who is writing all of the literature that is being sent out in opposition to this proposed tax and also the speeches that are being read against it, is doing it for nothing. It does not seen reasonable, he stated.
In view of the above statement and also the fact that such men as F. Ardine Richardson of Strong, Master of the Maine State Grange; Rep C. H. Holman of Dixfield, President of Maine Taxpayers, Inc.; Frank B. Day of Lisbon Falls, President of the Maine Federation of Agricultural Associations; Senator Neil S. Bishop of Bowdoinham and many other prominent men are traveling all over the state and giving their time without one cent of pay to inform the voters regarding this bill, it would seem wise for the voters of Maine to think twice before they vote against the gas tax bill on Dec. 10 next.
V. H. Holman, Dixfield, Me.
As is our custom, we try to exactly reproduce the grammar, spelling, punctuation and style of the original. Commas might appear where least expected and remain absent where we’d expect them if the item was written nowadays. On the other hand, consistency was not considered of utmost importance, so variations of a spelling might appear within one story. In addition, some words were abbreviated differently than today.
Where brief explanations of terms are considered necessary, they are presented in brackets  within the quote. Otherwise, explanations appear at the beginning or at the conclusion, without quotes. Parenthesis () used in a quoted passage appeared in the original.