Give GOP a chance
After viewing Rep. Emily Cain’s speech on April 13, concerning her and her party’s concern over Republican strategies for creating jobs, I can only wonder where was their concern over the last 30 years of Democratic rule in our Legislature?
Rep. Cain is a very able orator and I am sure she uses this gift often in her part-time position at the University of Maine, as well as in her leadership position in her party. After 30 years of having it their way with very few increases in jobs, and after less than four months of Republican rule, it would possibly behoove Rep. Cain and her party to establish a longer wait-and-see period before they start casting stones.
I am not enamored of some of the Republican and Democratic legislative efforts so far this year but give Republicans a chance and if they do not improve the lackluster job situation this term, then put it to the voters. That being said, good luck to both parties in these tough economic times.
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Buried deep inside the April 14 Bangor Daily News was a brief report about a significant milestone that will have a long-term impact on our state and its flagship university in Orono. The University of Maine has raised more than $150 million from private sources in the past six years, surpassing the ambitious goal it set for itself in 2005 at the beginning of an effort called Campaign Maine. This represents the largest private fundraising effort in Maine public university history.
UMaine has great traditions and high aspirations. Its leaders and advocates know that ongoing, successful private fundraising is essential to the university’s ability to serve its students and the people of Maine. This is particularly true as economic conditions challenge the abilities of the state and students to fund the growth necessary for UMaine to build on its statewide leadership role in education and economic development.
The university is committed to doing its part, through an ongoing, comprehensive fundraising effort. UMaine has loyal alumni and ardent supporters around Maine and beyond, and this milestone proves that they stand ready and willing to help fund the initiatives that will sustain the university’s considerable momentum.
James H. Goff
University of Maine Board of Visitors
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New gun bills
Just when I thought that things could not get any more bizarre in Augusta, two Republicans introduced gun bills, supported by the NRA. The bills would allow a person to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and carry a concealed weapon in the State House and state parks, historic places, premises licensed for consumption of alcohol, and on state property under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety and the Legislative Council.
These people often quote the Second Amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms. What they do not mention is that when this amendment was approved people were using muzzle-loaded flintlocks. With today’s weapons you can shoot more bullets in seconds than our ancestors could shoot in a day. With today’s weapons some people are better armed than our police officers. I was brought up with guns and I served on the battalion rifle team in the Army. I never felt I needed to own an AK-47 or a pistol that would fire 31 bullets without reloading.
The NRA is one of the most powerful lobbyists in the country, and neither party wants to cross them. As long as the NRA members put up with this, it will continue.
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Lower gas tax
I read the editorial “Don’t Abandon Gas Tax” (BDN, April 13) and was curious about how much we pay per gallon for taxes in Maine and how that compares to the rest of the country. What I found was outrageous and I think the people of Maine deserve to know as well.
Maine collects the seventh highest amount of tax per gallon in the country at 29.5 cents per gallon on gas and 30.7 cents per gallon on diesel. Federal average miles driven per year is 15,000 and the average vehicle gets 20 miles per gallon. This means we buy approximately 750 gallons of gas per year and pay $221.25 per year in taxes to the state.
Maine has about 1.4 million registered vehicles on the books and let’s assume not all travel 15,000 miles and we will only assume that 1 million do, which means $221.25 million is collected in fuel taxes each year from the residents of Maine, not to mention the out of state drivers that come here.
The $221.25 million per year should be enough to maintain roads. I think we could do it with half that based on the use of excise tax for local roads. Lower the fuel tax, not just stop it from going up.
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Another side of LePage
The only way crime touches most people is through headlines in the newspaper or on television. They observe it at a distance with concern and sympathy. Compassion is a two-way street, and the people of Maine have a long history as a compassionate society. But compassion doesn’t have to be measured in legislative responses to people’s problems or needs. Sometimes we’re just there to help each other.
It was “people ahead of politics” recently when Gov. Paul LePage, first lady Ann LePage and daughter Lauren LePage attended the April 10 Crime Victims’ Rights event hosted by the Maine chapter of Parents Of Murdered Children. POMC was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Charlotte and Robert Hullinger in 1978 just three months after their daughter, Lisa, was murdered, and is the only self-help organization designed solely to offer emotional support and information about surviving the loss of a loved one to murder.In the absence of any limelight, Gov. LePage revealed his personal experience with poverty and domestic violence, and said his administration is compassionate to the needs of crime victims and their families. As a parent, he spoke of his sensitivity to what it must be like for anyone who loses someone to murder. As a survivor of domestic violence himself, he recognizes the link between family violence, crime and homelessness.
“My door will always be open,” he said, when expressing his values that victims are entitled to justice, and support from the institutions of the people of Maine.