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Letters to the editor for April 5, 2011


Within means, not dreams

To justify spending at least $65 million (a total of $120 million over 30 years), arena proponents are using every possible means to rationalize the expenditure. To make the project look viable, they propose using all of the money which has been collected from Hollywood Slots ($2 million of which has already been spent!) plus half of the money from the TIF fund (the tax for downtown projects). They claim that this money, added to wildly unrealistic projections of Hollywood Slots income will cover the cost of the facility without raising taxes.

In other words, every dime the city receives from these two sources for the next 30 years will be spent to build the facility. Does anyone believe Hollywood Slots will last 30 more years?

Hollywood Slots revenue is taxpayer money. It is part of the income which should support the city. Counting questionable “projected” revenues from Hollywood Slots for this massive project turns the Hollywood Slots windfall into a major liability.

There will be no “spring clean up” this year. We can’t afford it. A pending trash bag fee and a “rainwater runoff” tax are being considered. No one seems to be considering major capital expenditures to come (the high school, etc.).  Future capital needs will put major demands on future city finances and yet we are about to plunge deeply in debt to pay for a dream.

The rush to build a massive arena complex is truly irresponsible. We must live within our means, not our dreams.

Paul Trommer


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LePage’s death panels

Last year Republicans scared seniors by telling them that if the health care law passed,  the Democrats would set up “death panels.” In Maine, however, it is Republican Governor who is setting up “death panels.”

If Gov. LePage’s budget is passed, there will be seniors and people with disabilities who may die because they were not able to afford the health care and prescription drugs that would have kept them alive. What many people don’t know is that in order for seniors and people with disabilities to get onto a prescription drug program that allows them to be able to afford their prescriptions, they have to have either Medicare part A and/or part B.

Medicare Part A, which covers hospital costs, is covered by the federal government. However, to have Medicare part B, which covers doctor visits and preventive screenings, presently costs approximately $100 a month, plus the prescription drug program costs approximately $35 a month. They will also have to pay co-pays and if they unfortunately reach the “doughnut hole,” which is now paid for, then they would have to pay more.

Unfortunately, for the more than 48,000 Mainers on fixed incomes that Gov. LePage wants to take off of the Maine prescription drug programs, they may not be able to afford these extra amounts on top of their food, heat and shelter expenses. They may not be able to afford to go to a doctor, and without a prescription drug program, they may not be able to afford their prescriptions.

Death panels may be coming all right, but it isn’ t the Democrats who are setting them up.

Neva Allen


• • •

LePage criticism unwarranted

I find the criticism of Gov. LePage unwarranted and bordering on the hysterical.

Here is a man with a standard of principles and the courage to stick by them.  He states them in clear English; isn’t that unique for a politician?

The art work removal in the Department of Labor building is a tempest in a tea pot. I thought all government agencies should be neutral. Having them there certainly implies a union bias. The building is now nonpartisan.

It’s refreshing to have a politician with a spine, something we have not seen on either side of the aisle in 20 years. If you are going to criticize him, do it on his policies not on his constitutional powers.

Joseph deNatale


• • •

GOP no friends of teens

The hypocrisy of our Republican legislature is utterly astounding. Sen. Debra Plowman, a Republican from Hampden, has introduced LD 516 that will begin the degradation of of our child labor protections. This bill will change the allowable working hours for a teenager from 20 to 24 hours. She says that the increased hours will allow students to earn more money for college.

However; there is another bill that has been introduced to the Legislature, LD 1346 by David Burns, a Republican from Whiting. This bill will complete the exploitation of our young people. LD 1346 will change the wage to $5.25 for someone under 20-years-old, or someone (trainees) who have worked less than 180 days.

Today a 17-year-old can earn $150 a week for 20 hours. Under the new proposals he or she will work 24 hours for $126 a week.  And this will allow the student to earn more money for college? In what Republican dream does this work out?

Business friendly should not mean an overworked, underpaid high school student.

Roxann M. Bennett

Old Town

• • •

Budget is issue

We have heard a lot of talk lately from our legislators on many different subjects but we have not heard where they stand on the budget issue. The budget is the most important issue that is facing us and our legislators.

So I ask all legislators: Are you going to support Gov. LePage’s budget? What legislation are you working on to reduce our taxes? Is reducing taxes a consideration? Do you agree that we are out of control on our spending?

Please let us know what progress you are making .

Donald Kelley


• • •

Pension fairness

I’ve listened to the new state treasurer speaking all over Maine about the crisis in the state’s pension fund. If the fund is in such critical shape why does he want to reduce the state’s obligation by 2 percent? Asking state employees to pay extra, then taking the state’s 2 percent contribution and making tax breaks for the wealthy doesn’t seem like a critical need for the pension fund. This sounds like shifting more burden on the state employees.

In the interest of fairness, make all the state employees pay 7.5 percent first, then if funding is still inadequate, make increases. All who are eligible to draw retirement should be paying in the same amount, unless of course they want to draw less when they retire.

Larry Farrington

Greenville Junction

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