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AUGUSTA, Maine -- Maine voters flexed their veto muscle during Tuesday’s election and voted to block new taxes on beer, wine and soda, which were imposed months ago as a way to prop up the state-subsidized Dirigo health insurance program.
Supporters of the tax repeal kept a steady lead as votes were counted. With 36 percent of the state's precincts reporting, 64 percent favored repeal, The Associated Press reported.
Polls consistently pointed to passage of the tax repeal proposal, whose campaign was funded largely by the beverage industry under a "Fed Up With Taxes" banner. Opponents of the repeal unsuccessfully sought to convince voters that the new revenues were needed to make affordable health insurance available to more Mainers who need it.
Ted O'Meara, spokesman for Fed Up With Taxes, said his side never took a win for granted. "We worked very hard to get our message out, and we're very pleased with where we ended up tonight," he said, adding the campaign was never aimed at the Dirigo program, but felt strongly that now is the wrong time to raise taxes.
The law that was struck down called for a little more than doubling the tax on beer and wine made by large producers. It also would have imposed new wholesale taxes on soda and the syrup used to make it, according to the AP report.