This week, ClickBack seeks editorial page reader comments on new ownership of paper mills in the Katahdin region, a proposal to require a photo ID to vote, comprehensive land-use planning and bringing Asian students in Maine. To participate, visit bangordailynews.com and select ClickBack from the Opinion menu.
What concessions should the state and workers make to facilitate the sale of Katahdin region mills?
The firm that wants to buy paper mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket has sought $48 million in property tax reductions and pay concessions from workers to facilitate the sale. How much should the state, towns and workers be willing to give in order to bring in new owners? If the mills, or at least one mill, becomes economically viable and the economy improves, further aiding the business to attain profitability, are such concessions a small price to pay? Should workers accept the new economic reality and agree to pay cuts? Or should the company have to stand on its own two feet?
Should voters have to present a photo ID at the polls?
A legislative proposal would require voters to present a valid photo ID (drivers license or state-issued ID.) Is this reasonable, or does it discriminate against the poor and recent immigrants? If not now, will Maine eventually need to require such IDs? What about a national ID card? Is it time, or does this smack of “Big Brother” tactics?
Should residents fear comprehensive planning?
The LePage administration and some Republican legislators want to repeal the Informed Growth Act, which proponents say empowered towns in their review of big retailers. In Hampden, many residents were openly hostile to town officials in a recent meeting about the new comprehensive plan. Has land use planning become a bad thing? What are the downsides of such planning? What are the advantages?
What will Chinese students bring to Maine?
Several Maine high schools are actively recruiting Asian, and especially Chinese students to come here and complete their education. What does this do for Maine? Is the tuition revenue reason enough? Are these students merely propping up schools that otherwise should close? Are there other benefits?
Comments posted at ClickBack may be featured on Friday’s OpEd page.