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Feb. 16, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Raise tax for SCHIP

The solution to the problem of paying for Maine’s share of the recently expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, is not difficult. Do what Congress did. Raise the tobacco tax enough to cover the cost and the decline in revenue that the federal action will have on Maine’s treasury.

Smoking-related health care costs to state taxpayers are still much larger than the amount raised by the current excise tax. Better yet, begin taxing other tobacco products such as little cigars to make them equal to cigarettes so they don’t have an unfair advantage. Survey after survey shows that the public is strongly in support of increased tobacco taxes when the funds are used for health care and prevention.

Edward F. Miller

executive director

American Lung Association of Maine

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Government at fault

If you think the stimulus bill is going to work, you are wrong. It will line the pockets of the same old people the lobbyists want it to line. The federal government got us into this mess by not helping curb the massive spike in fuel prices in the past couple of years, and also with the financial meltdown by demanding the banks lend money to people who could not afford the payments, and it’s that simple.

Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame, but government as a whole is responsible. In our own state the economy is contracting every day, and so are state revenues. The Legislature is in a panic and is about to shoot us in the foot by changing the tax code to soak the tourists, but it will detour them away, leaving local con-sumers with the tax bill.

Government will be responsible again for hurting the common person. I regret how long it will take for all of us to stop and seek out leaders who will tell us what we want hear: the truth. There is no one answer, but being truthful is the first course of action. Others would be to trust the people, lower business taxes and get out of our way, so we all can get back to work.

Carter Jones


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Advice on merging

Since moving to Maine almost two years ago, my husband and I have fallen in love with the state and its people. My only lingering problem with this state is the drivers who do not know how to merge correctly on the interstate.

I have lost track of how many potential accidents I have witnessed in which a driver gets to the end of the on-ramp and abruptly stops the vehicle. Let me point out the correct manner in which to merge onto an interstate. From the State of Maine Motorist Handbook:

“Going slower than other cars or stopping all of a sudden can be just as bad as speeding. Cars bunch up behind you and could cause a rear-end crash. You need skill and caution to enter a freeway safely from an access lane, and merge smoothly with the fast-moving traffic. Look for a gap, then increase speed in the entrance lane and enter the gap at highway speed” (page 51).

In other words, you do not stop when you reach the end of an access lane. Rather, you must speed up to merge safely into traffic — this is the purpose of the on-ramp.

Similarly, drivers on the interstate also must be alert to merging vehicles. The left lane is not for driving but rather for passing. When you see a vehicle trying to merge, you should either move over or speed up or slow down to allow those vehicles to merge.

Susan Cosgrove


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True nonpartisanship?

Enough already. Mainers and the nation at large are being subjected to a barrage of saccharine-laced publicity emphasizing the alleged “nonpartisanship” of Sens. Collins, Snowe and Spector regarding their “crucial” support of the administration’s recovery package. Nonsense.

The package already has the support of a solid majority of the Senate without them. What it does not have is a filibusterproof majority, owing to its being held hostage by this intrepid trio until they get their way. There is nothing “nonpartisan” about it, any more than their “nonpartisan” support of the Bush invasion of Iraq six years ago, or the Bush packing of the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues two years ago. Had Maine done the right thing last November and elected Tom Allen to the Senate, we wouldn’t be in the Collins-Snowe-Spector-induced stalemate that currently afflicts us.

Lynn Parsons


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Collins’ cuts hurt Maine

It’s dismaying to read Susan Collins’ touting her involvement in passing the stimulus package when she had a hand in eliminating $19.5 billion in construction for schools, reduced aid for Head Start by $1 billion, eliminated $25 billion in flexible funding for states. Just divide that by 50 (I know this is simplistic, but it’s an easy starting point to give a person some idea of the losses) and find out how much the state of Maine will not receive. No new teachers for Head Start, fewer construction jobs statewide on making our schools more energy efficient or repaired and let’s not forget that extra $5 billion or so the state could use to do some of those projects we all know need starting or finishing.

McCormack Economy


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Great hotels in Bangor

After reading the BDN’s front-page story on the Bangor Travelodge and its poor TripAdvisor rating, it became evident that it’s not only prospective travelers who check TripAdvisor’s travel rating Web site — so did your reporter. TripAdvisor ratings are based on actual guest comments. The comments are subjective and affected by many factors, including price value; and generally the comments are honest.

The BDN’s story did leave out one very important point: There are many great hotels in Bangor. The top five as listed on TripAdvisor’s site are: The Courtyard by Marriott, The Fireside Inn & Suites (former Best Inn), The Best Western White House Inn, The Hampton Inn and The Bangor Super 8 Motel.

As TripAdvisor guests put it, some Bangor hotels are: “Not fancy-schmancy but clean, with a very comfortable bed and quiet.” One is: “a nice new hotel.” Another has: “Pet-friendly rooms which we found convenient when traveling with our dog.” Most have “staff which is exceptionally friendly.”

Bangor has three new hotels (nearly 400 brand-new rooms), several hotels have added rooms or done complete renovations, and most of Bangor’s hotels are clean, fairly priced and offer great service. Let’s hope that all of our guests will say, “We will definitely stay here again!”

Peter Daigle


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