June 21, 2018
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May 11 Letters to the Editor

Water tax impacts

I work for Hartt Transportation, a trucking company headquartered in Bangor. I’m responding to a recent editorial about a $7 million tax on Poland Spring that would have widespread negative effects on other Maine companies.

Since 1948, Hartt has been family-owned and operated in Maine. Today, it employs more than 500 full-time employees; 150 work on the Poland Spring account which covers $10 million a year in payroll. The average salary on this account is about $67,000 per year, including full benefits.

These jobs wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Poland Spring, and I don’t know how we would replace them if something happened to Poland Spring.

Hartt has made more than $32 million in capital investments to service the Poland Spring account. That includes buying 145 trucks and trailers, all purchased from other Maine companies. From the dealerships to the fuel stations to the tire suppliers, thousands of Mainers have benefited from our partnership with Poland Spring.

That said, Hartt Transportation represents just a fraction of the revenue Maine vendors receive from Poland Spring. That total tops $65 million.

Each of these companies has a supply chain that provides jobs well beyond their individual payrolls. And behind each payroll are families grateful for a good job in the midst of a terrible economy.

Penalizing Poland Spring is not a good way for government to get more money. Other Maine companies will be affected and the families who depend on the jobs those companies provide.

Richard Hughes



True leadership

Gov. Baldacci’s signature turning the “gay marriage” bill into law was done by a dutiful public servant, not by a political activist.

Article 1, Section 1, (subtitled Natural Rights) of Maine’s Constitution clearly states, “All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

At issue was not every individual’s moral and religious interpretation of marriage (i.e.; defining marriage between a man and a woman), but, according to Section 1, every individual’s “inherent and unalienable” right to have one.

Despite his own reservations about the bill, and pressure from political and religious groups, the governor exhibits true leadership by performing his sworn duty to preserve and protect the constitutional rights of all Mainers, not just the rights of the majority.

Mike Turcotte



On church and state

It makes me sick that our governor, while signing the gay marriage bill, misquoted the Constitution regarding the separation of church and state. The First Amendment was written to keep the government out of the church, not to keep the church out of the government.

The implied “wall of separation” was meant to forbid the government from passing laws that relate to the church or that hinder the free influence of the church over our society, including the government. It was meant to protect the church from government intrusion and control, not to protect the government from the positive moral influence of the church.

The term “wall of separation” was taken, out of grammatical context, from a letter by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (Connecticut) Baptist Association on Jan. 1, 1802.

It was his first act as president and was in response to a letter from the Baptist Association in which the group expressed concern that the government might, in some way, restrict the free expressions of faith.

President Jefferson wrote: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence, that act of the whole American people, which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

Please do your own research and learn the truth about the First Amendment.

Tom Huffstutler



Baldacci broke promise

Our governor, John Baldacci, has lived down to my expectations by signing the bill allowing gay marriage and doing it behind closed doors. He had stated in the past that he was not in favor of this measure. Wouldn’t it be nice if a politician were not so heavily influenced by individuals from out of state, i.e. supporters of gay marriage.

It would be such a bright spot in the lives of Maine residents if our politicians had the courage to live up to what they promise.

Harriett Real



Plowman mistaken

When will Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, come out of the right-wing fog that she seems to be in? LD 1020 will not force churches and “people of faith” to do anything that is against their tenets and beliefs. The church and state are separate, remember?

The state is not going to force churches to perform same-sex marriages. How anyone in her position could not understand this is beyond me. If this issue does come to a referendum, I trust that the good people of Maine are more enlightened than this particular state senator, and will not overturn this legislation.

Michael W. Grondin



Love over fear

Many of the letters to the editor against same-sex marriage and homosexuality make reference to the Bible and God to support their position. I refer to God and the Bible to support mine, for example, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

As a Christian, I do not understand (and frankly don’t want to understand) why all the judging and hatred toward people who just want to live and have equal rights.

I am reminded of the saying, ”Live and let live,” and from I John, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear.”

Peter Phillips


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