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Wednesday, June 29, 2011: Open for ideas, faint-hearted budget

Open for ideas

Although the Piscataquis Regional YMCA was surprised by the outcome of the vote on June 13 regarding the funding for Dover-Foxcroft recreational programming, we are focusing on the positive and see this as an opportunity to provide inspiring, inclusive, socially responsible programs to better serve the community’s needs.

We take great pride in the fact that we are an affiliate of a nationwide movement (YMCA of the USA) committed to providing cause-driven programs and services within the three focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in our own community.

Because of this commitment to the YMCA of the USA and to our community, town officials and the YMCA will hold a public forum 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, at the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft. We will use this open forum to gather information from you all regarding the needs for developmental, inclusive and socially responsible programs and services for the residents of Piscataquis and Southern Penobscot counties. Your input and feedback will help determine our programmatic offerings as we move forward through this transition.

Erika Weidner
executive director
Piscataquis Regional YMCA

Weak, faint-hearted budget

Urgent and overdue as they are, cutting spending, reforming pensions and removing suffocating business regulations are only part of the fiscal reforms needed. The more important part is to reverse the stagnation of the private sector since the 1980s. On this, the governor’s first budget is weak and faint-hearted.

The budget proposed by the governor does little to provide business incentives to stimulate private sector recovery on two counts: much bigger cuts in personal income tax rates are needed for small-business job growth to be competitive, and the budget contains no major business tax cuts.

A small, token personal income tax rate reduction of half of 1 percent after two years is not likely to convince any investor that Maine is on track to make business investment attractive and restore growth of the private sector. Moreover, it indicates a lack of confidence by the LePage team that the best strategy known, the Reagan-Laffer strategy of sharp cuts in tax rates, would work to increase revenue.

To be competitive, Maine needs a low or zero corporate income tax rate. Five states have no corporate income tax at all and the new governor of Florida is proposing to abolish its corporate tax. The tax yields only 4.5 percent of Maine operating revenue and in a recovering economy could be eliminated without hurting revenue significantly or at all.

Maine needs to stop spending growth and revenues from rising faster than personal income, which requires major reduction of tax rates.

Hadley E. Smith

Interest well-founded

At a recent SAD 68 board meeting, board member Sue Mackey Andrews answered a question in a way that led people to believe I retired from my position as SAD 68 middle school counselor last spring. I did not retire.

My position was eliminated, then reinstated by the voters, another person was moved into my position before my contract expired and my contract was not renewed without explanation after 11 years of employment. Sue Mackey Andrews was incorrect.

I think the current citizen interest in SAD 68 operations is very positive and should continue.

Brian Welsh

Just the facts, governor

I attended the town hall meeting in Rockport where Gov. LePage and his department heads

answered questions posed by area residents. I left dismayed and angry as I reflected on the governor’s often hostile and sarcastic tone, and his misrepresentation of fact on several issues.

We know that the governor does not do well with scientific research (he doesn’t even know the difference between estrogen and testosterone); however, to use distortion and outright falsehoods to support his point of view is a disgrace to the office of governor. Here are two examples refuted by a simple Google search:

The governor declared that Maine’s educational quality is 42nd in the nation. For many years studies have consistently shown that Maine students perform above the national average. In fact, Maine ranks in the “top tier of states on overall student achievement” (see the Waterville Morning Sentinel, Jan. 12).

The governor stated that windmills in Maine have not lowered electrical bills for residents by “one red cent.” Maine Public Service customers in Aroostook County have seen a 15 percent reduction in electrical rates for residential customers, and a 21 percent reduction in commercial rates since the windmills have been erected in Mars Hill. Whether you like windmills or hate them, electrical rates have dropped significantly.

It is bad enough to promote an agenda that moves Maine backward, but to insult residents with bogus information and twisted logic, well, that’s not the way we do things in Maine.

Laura Flagg
Stockton Springs

Beating dead horse

Last November, Maine voters elected a Legislature and governor to enact laws. In the process, hearings are held and all those special interests affected by the proposed legislation are furnished an opportunity to voice their concurrence-objections. And so the prohibition against same-day voter registration proceeded and was established.

Having failed to sway our elected officials to their position, the losers are continuing to protest a legal, legislative action through the media. Now they plan to engage an army of petition-equipped soldiers to enlist more than 57,000 like-minded recruits, who believe it is inconvenient to register before election day because it somehow disenfranchises residents. They scoff at the idea that the law is intended to deter voter fraud, ignoring the testimony that an out-of-state student admitted to having voted unchallenged at several polling places on election day.

One would hope that those who voted for senators and representatives who supported the measure will refrain from signing the paper. While the persistence of the losers is admirable, it is disheartening to see a dead horse beaten to death. If opponents believe the law is unconstitutional or somehow illegal, mount a court test. Alternatively field candidates who promise to overturn the law legislatively.

The obsessive plebiscitary recourse to annulling the legitimate course of democratically enacted laws is a waste of time and administrative resources. Signatories to the petition are contributing to this situation.

Ron Goldstone

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