This week, ClickBack sought editorial page reader comment on the governor’s plan to cut pay and benefits to state workers, the future leaders of the Republican party and the fate of the Boston Globe. Look for new questions in Tuesday’s editorial column.
Are state workers bearing too much of the budget cuts?
It is time to raise the sales tax. Those who will decry it do so for grandstanding purposes only. Raise the tax and carry on with the other proposals as well so we can at least tread water rather than having this sense that we are drowning. More importantly, if Gov. Baldacci does not eliminate some “high paid bureaucrat” positions (my pet peeve is the “special assistants”) then he has no credibility.
Other issues: combine Maine DOT and Maine Turnpike Authority; merge DIFW, Conservation and Marine Resources.
The Legislature needs to bear the brunt of some of these cuts as well. Cut the number of legislators and reduce the days they travel (on our dime) to Augusta and make them operate in a more efficient manner on the days they are there — let them buy their own food — they would eat anyway!
I am a state worker, and I am grateful to have served the state for 20 years. I have pretty good pay and health insurance, and I appreciate the Legislature and the governor has determined that my work is valuable enough to receive that compensation. Given the economic times it would be selfish to ask to be excluded from the pain that others have had to go through.
I do object to the characterization that we receive great pay increases and ever increasing health benefits. For ten years I did not see an increase in my take home pay. The union swapped pay for guaranteed employment, no cuts in health insurance, and “fairshare” ( forcing employees to join the union). The union was the main beneficiary of these contracts. In order to pay my bills I started my own business, got a second job, just like many other Mainers.
So I am ready to take my pay cut. But let’s look at some real cuts, permanent ones. First look at the top-heavy departments filled with lawyers. Lawyers doing jobs non-lawyers used to do. Policy and procedure people that do neither. Thousands of dollars being spent on projects that have no federal or state mandate; in other words the department thought it would be a good thing to do. How about the Legislature taking a huge cut?
Raise the sales tax. Change the way we collect highway use tax from a set percent per gallon to a set percent on the cost of a gallon. Make people on welfare who use the various ERs around the state for their primary care pay to visit them for frivolous complaints.
Yes, raise the sales tax! That’s the only fair way to do it. That way it impacts everyone, not just state workers.
Who will be the GOP’s next star?
Jeb Bush is good, but unfortunately he has the baggage of his brother and it will be too much for him to overcome. The Republicans have to do something to become relevant again. And begin by telling the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh to just go away. They continue to polarize and they do it simply to fill their own pockets. I’m sorry to say that eight years of Bush-Cheney and the steam rolling under that administration did nothing to modernize the party. I remain a Republican because I have hope that the grand old party will once again emerge. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Bill Cohen … good models.
Will the Boston Globe survive?
As a former Boston Globe reader it probably doesn’t matter any more. As an independent under management by the Winships, the Boston Globe was a fantastic paper, under the Times it is just another McPaper.
Let me tell you about the time the Boston Globe stood up for delinquent children, backed Gov. Sargent who closed the Commonwealth’s reform schools. It was Glorious! The Fourth Estate at its best.
Gawd, I hate to see a newspaper die.