Lesson of the murals
It is OK that the murals were removed from the Department of Labor. The only issue is their preservation. When at a future time Gov. LePage is no longer in office, those murals will serve (as art has in the past) as a reminder of a dark time in the political history of Maine. And it can be a future Republican governor or Democratic governor who puts back those murals as a lesson to schoolchildren as well as a reminder to adults that those having removed or destroyed art in the past have not acted for the benefit of those who the desire is to live in a democratic society.
• • •
Restore the gulf
The BP Deepwater Horizon well exploded a year ago April 20, ultimately sending a record-breaking 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. And what has Congress done to help with restoration? Nothing.
It’s time to get serious about restoring the gulf. BP and the others will pay fines under the Clean Water Act for each barrel of oil spilled. These fines will reach into the billions of dollars, as they should.
Right now however, the money from these fines will simply be deposited into the federal treasury and will not be used to restore the gulf — at least not until Congress steps up.
Oil is still oozing in the marshes, washing up on beaches, and covering sections of the gulf floor. The full impacts of the disaster will be felt for years, even decades, to come.
There is much we can do to make the Gulf of Mexico a cleaner and healthier place for people and wildlife, but we need to get started as soon as possible. Congress needs to stop sitting on its hands and dedicate the Clean Water Act penalties to gulf restoration.
• • •
The citizens of the great state of Maine have no legal or constitutional recourse in the event of an unfair or undemocratic election. This, I believe, is an affront to the very foundation of this democratic nation.
I live and work in this wonderful state and Paul LePage’s political, business, ethical and social philosophies and motives either offend me, concern me, or both! He does not represent the values that Mainers have proven they stand behind time and time again.
He is not the democratically elected governor of this fine state and “we the people” should have the legal representation and the political power to say so. If our representatives are not supporting the rights of the citizens of this state, then they are working against us and that should be considered treason.
We all must support the citizens recall initiative. We must all diligently work to preserve the democracy of this great nation!
• • •
Sound Republican policy
With their legislation recently introduced, Maine’s Republican lawmakers have taken a significant step in simplifying the Maine tax code while accomplishing three significant points.
First, more than 70,000 taxpayers will no longer have any income tax liability. Now, Democrats ought to jump on board with this to create bipartisan support. Second, there will be no tax increases. And third, a number of businesses, which are unique to the state of Maine, will be encouraged.
With respect to the third point, with the elimination of sales taxes on fuel for commercial fishermen, more catch landings in Maine will be encouraged, which will help ensure the survival, and hopefully growth, of the Portland Fish Exchange. Also, eliminating sales taxes on parts and supplies for the historic windjammer industry will help to ensure their strong tourism position. The acceleration of equipment investment depreciation schedules will help the entire business community. All of these points will help to create job stability and thus provide stability to revenues to the state.
Encouraging Maine’s businesses, which is one of Gov. Paul LePage’s major goals, will come to fruition as Republican lawmakers develop sound pro-business legislation such as this. Citizens will be encouraged, during the governor’s next 100 days as additional sound policy is introduced by him as well as the Legislature.
Richard S. Harnett
• • •
LePage’s rising tide
The words of two American presidents come to mind when I think of Maine’s current fiscal situation. President Reagan once said, “I believe the best social program is a job.” And President John F. Kennedy was often heard to tell the American public that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Gov. LePage’s budget proposal is tailor-made for the words of these two American presidents.
This proposal offers broad-based tax relief and brings Maine’s personal deductions and exemptions in line with federal law. It also offers bonus depreciation to businesses and eliminates the indexing of Maine’s gasoline tax. With this approach, Gov. LePage’s budget provides tax relief to virtually all Maine residents and businesses. There is no more effective or equitable way to effect a positive change on Maine’s economy.
The special interest groups have been very vocal so far in opposition to this budget proposal. I for one believe that any change in the status quo represents a new reality that they are unwilling to accept.
Unfortunately for the special interest groups that have opposed the governor’s budget proposal at every turn, the Maine people are not so content with the status quo. That is why we elected Gov. LePage.
It is time to make Maine’s most successful social program a strong private sector full of good-paying jobs. By passing Gov. LePage’s budget proposal, Maine can finally begin to look for the rising tide we so desperately need.
• • •
Maine’s bottle bill works
I lived for a year in northern New Mexico, and often walked to the local library and wellness center. I’d pick up litter, cans and bottles along the way. On my way home there’d be new garbage; especially liquor and beer bottles and cans, and fast food trash. New Mexico is uniquely beautiful, but the roadside litter is appalling.
Maine is also stunningly beautiful and Maine has a bottle bill. It’s a 35-year commitment of citizens and legislators to protect our visual community. Not just for tourists, but for ourselves. And there’s a bonus: The proceeds allow us to care for each other.
I am against LD 1324, 728, 900, 1063 and 1210 and intend to let my legislators know. Please do the same.