Tax Rebellion in Castine, Maine

Occasionally, tax resistance takes the form of opposition so widespread and mainstream that it wins at the ballot box. Such was the case in Castine, Maine, where residents voted to illegally refuse, as a town, to pay a state school tax, .

Some excerpts from a news article on the rebellion:

[Castine] voted again night, by a two-to-one margin, not to pay a state-assessed school funding tax, and thereby risked a contempt-of-court citation.

The special town meeting vote was 125 to 65 not to rescind the town’s action taken at its special town meeting. At that time, the town voted not to collect the tax. This is in defiance of a superior court order by Judge Harry Glassman ordering the town to begin paying school taxes to the state.

[T]here were those… who felt they could not afford to pay the additional assessment and could not afford a tax lien on their property if they should individually refuse to pay any tax bill. If it came to a choice of directing the town not to bill taxpayers, or refusing to pay a tax bill and risking loss of property through a tax sale, most in that position would, and did, vote not to be billed.

The state tax was designed in part to subsidize low-tax-base, high-schoolchild-population school districts at the expense of high-tax-base, low-schoolchild-population ones like Castine. The town eventually relented in the face of a court order.

There was even a folk song to celebrate the revolt.