September 5 Letters to the Editor

Posted Sept. 04, 2009, at 7:54 p.m.

Repeal ‘tax reform’

I don’t think that most people are aware of what “tax reform” LD 1495 will do.

First, the bill will increase the sales tax rate from 7 percent to 8.5 percent on prepared foods, served liquor, candy, and living quarters, and increase the tax on auto rentals from 10 percent to 12.5 percent.

These will become taxable: anything rented or leased, long-distance service for residents — but not businesses, photo rights and guide services. admission to circuses, concerts, theaters, festivals, amusement parks and rides, some fairs, race tracks, some sports activities, some museums, planetariums, zoos, auto, home, garden, camping, gun and antiques shows, miniature golf, billiards, go-carts, paintball, sight-seeing rides by aircraft, watercraft, bus, wagon rides, some white-water rafting.

Also taxed will be entertainment including bands, deejays, comedians and clowns; installation and repair services for just about anything including automobiles, snowmobiles, and ATV’s but not on aircraft, commercial trucks, watercraft or mobile equipment.

And also: dry cleaning, laundry and diaper service; car washing and pressure cleaning; pet sitting, exercising, training, grooming and boarding; picture framing; residential furniture, house and rug cleaning — but not business cleaning; interior decorators, meal preparation, butchering, art restoring, warehousing and storage — except for businesses; moving services, towing, mooring, limo and some taxicab services.

Exempt organizations will now pay tax on prepared foods, lodging and auto rentals.

For income tax, the two lowest rates are actually increased to 6 percent. This whole law is to help those poor people that pay the two highest income tax rates.

Please sign a petition to repeal!

Richard Washburn

Skowhegan

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Put out to pasture?

I mow grass for a living. Actually, an accident forced me to retire, but after several years of self-rehab, I am semiuseful now. I started looking for a part-time job over a year ago because what I receive for retirement doesn’t cover the bills and thanks to the wizards in Augusta and their tax reform, it costs people like me even more to get by.

I thought someone with more than 40 years of experience from maintenance to management should be able to find work somewhere. But I have a wall in my office covered with rejection letters with every excuse for not hiring me except the truth: “You’re too old!”

I even had a staffing agency reject me two days after I applied saying I had “lack of relevant work experience.” I really hate liars. After over a year of this, I stopped to see an old friend, Sonny Reynolds, at Sonny’s Driving Range in Winterport and he hired me to mow the golf course on Mondays. Perfect! It gives me the extra money I need plus a sense of self-worth again.

But the grass will stop growing soon and I hope I can find another “Sonny” because I desperately need the money.

Two things I’d like to say. Hire old people. You’ll get your money’s worth. And go down and play Sonny’s course. It’s a sweet nine-hole, par three with a driving range. Sonny is a heck of a nice guy and has great grass to play on. And I should know — I mow grass for a living.

Russ Taylor

Frankfort

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Apples, oranges, ideals

Bob Emrich is obviously comparing apples to oranges in his Sept. 2 BDN OpEd, “Same-sex marriage would be harmful to society,” when he suggests that legal recognition of same-sex unions would catastrophically damage children. No one should be bamboozled by his “What about the children” hysteria.

Mr. Emrich gives no support for his claim that scientific evidence showing “children do best when raised by their married biological parents” is “so overwhelming there can be no argument about this fact.”

Anyone can see that a child raised in a loving, stable household will do far better than a child raised by abusive or neglectful married biological parents. So biology and marital status don’t determine child rearing ability.

Even if one could show unmatchable benefits from married biological parenting in loving and stable households, that would only prove that there is an ideal child rearing environment. Is Mr. Emrich suggesting society outlaw raising children in any but an ideal circumstance? Adoption, single parenting, stepparenting — all illegal?

And how does defining marriage as an “official recognition of two people’s professed love for each other” radically redefine marriage? No state requires that marriages produce children. Heterosexuals with no intention or even ability to have children have been getting married for centuries. Indeed, requiring that marriage be for the purpose of having and raising children would be a radical redefinition of marriage. No woman over childbearing age can be married. Men get a free pass to remarry younger women. How’s that for redefining marriage?

Ben E. Lamborn

Sarah N. Sha’afi

Levant

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Homeless crisis

Regarding a recent letter that expressed concern about homeless shelter capacity, I fear that many are letting good intentions be swayed by bad politics and local dramatics.

The facts about our homeless are that many people are turned away from the Bangor area shelter because they can’t stay sober. Those people find their way to the Acadia Recovery Center where anyone is taken regardless of sobriety, as long as they do not fight or bring alcohol and drugs inside. A number of those people choose to sleep outside of the ARC simply so that can continue to use drugs and alcohol, especially in summer. A portion of those rejected by the ARC are not allowed back in for a period of time due to their violent or disorderly behavior.

Bangor’s population is half of Portland’s. Bangor’s metropolitan population is a third of Portland’s. Despite that, there are now as many registered sex offenders, over 150, living within the city limits of Bangor as there are in Portland.

This happens in part because of Bangor’s extraordinary generosity with social services but Bangor also happens to be the only city in the state which will accept registered sex offenders in its shelter. This is particularly relevant when offenders are released from prison.

Ninety-five percent of the Bangor homeless miraculously find a place to go once the cold hits. The other 5 percent are waiting for the Bangor police to drive them back out to the ARC.

Jason Stuart

Veazie

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