Friday, Oct. 5, 2012: Candidate endorsements, tax revenue and gas prices

Posted Oct. 04, 2012, at 4:35 p.m.

Finnegan for Rep.

I am voting for Larry Finnegan for state representative and I urge voters in District 33 to vote for him, too. Anyone who has met Larry Finnegan as he tirelessly makes the rounds knocking on doors to meet residents and listen to their concerns recognizes his energy and desire to improve Washington County life for young, middle-aged and old.

Larry Finnegan’s experience is broad and patriotic. He served in the U.S. Navy, worked as a computer analyst and geographer and owned a small greenhouse and landscape business. Larry understands Maine’s economy must grow to improve the climate for business, fishing, farming and forests.

With his wife, Dianne, a former teacher and now a member of Jonesport’s school board, he has an informed awareness of how rural schools must achieve better funding. Larry was elected president of the Machias Rotary Club, he was a grant writer and organizer for Keepers of Moose Peak Lighthouse and he serves on the board of directors of UMM’s Sunrise Senior College. He runs Jonesport’s Food Pantry and even delivers to homebound senior housing residents. He does volunteer tax preparation.

In short, he understands that our county’s hardworking majority needs progressive thinking and action to improve our lives, whether the improvement is affordable health care, a stronger business climate or making our area attractive enough to retrain and retain its younger and middle-aged population while serving the elderly. With Larry Finnegan representing us our long dormant Washington County economy will, indeed, re-bloom.

Etta C. Abrahams

Jonesport

Revenue shifts

Lately, when talking to private foundations about funding the goals of Mainely Girls, which include awareness, prevention and connecting to treatment those with eating disorders in our state, I’m asked, “Shouldn’t the government be paying for some of this?”

The government should be, but over the past 30 years there has been a steady shifting of funding responsibility of the public and onto private shoulders. Thus today, combating eating disorders is just one of many public efforts that deserve state and federal government support but aren’t receiving it.

One cause of this shift is a reduction in tax revenue, especially from our wealthiest households and most profitable corporations. While income and wealth have become more and more concentrated in recent years, contributions from this economic elite to the public good have declined in relative terms.

We have a chance to reverse this regrettable trend at the end of this year. That’s when Congress can decide to end tax breaks for the 2 percent of American households that make over $250,000 a year and use the resulting hundreds of billions of dollars a year in tax revenue to pay down debt and strengthen programs that support the middle class. (Middle income tax cuts should continue.)

U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins can be leaders in this process. By convincing their colleagues in the upcoming debate to support more equitable taxes on the wealthy, they can begin to shift public responsibilities back into public hands, where they primarily belong.

Mary Orear

Rockport

Crude prices

Recently the crude oil prices have been going down, according to the news. While the crude prices have been going down the price at the pumps has been going up. I think someone has to retake math — just today the news says the crude price dropped $1.39, yet the retail price jumped 11 cents. This doesn’t quite add up. Here we are being ripped off again. This seems to be a never ending battle for the consumer. I feel this is a problem that needs to be addressed by our elected officials.

Warren Gay

Machias

Lewiston CareerCenter

Contrary to the assumptions made in the Sun Journal editorial that was picked up by the BDN on Sept. 19, regarding the job fair at the Lewiston CareerCenter on Sept. 17, the Lewiston CareerCenter does offer return bus passes for anyone using the CareerCenter for job search or training activities. If someone was at the fair, and used the bus to get to the center, he or she could have asked the front desk staff for a free return pass.

People who receive general assistance from Lewiston and Auburn are required to attend work-search workshops at the Lewiston CareerCenter to maintain their general assistance eligibility. They should be familiar with the services that the CareerCenter provides, including the free bus pass and events such as job fairs. People who attend workshops also have the opportunity to network and carpool.

The Lewiston CareerCenter sponsors several networking groups and encourages job seekers to build relationships with other people in similar circumstances in order to provide mutual support and encouragement.

To ensure that the CareerCenter is reaching out to the widest possible audience, it works with agencies that serve job seekers with barriers to employment, offering additional resources for those job seekers. For example, the CareerCenter staff runs job search and resume workshops at the Auburn Public Library, communicate regularly with the adult education programs and general assistance offices, regularly offer WorkReady trainings through the adult education programs and work with the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate job search activities.

Julie Rabinowitz

Director of communication

Maine Department of Labor

Augusta

Penny wise, pound foolish

Those old-adages make a lot of sense — and “penny wise and pound foolish” fits today’s Maine Legislature. You can cut people off Medicaid, but you can’t stop them from being sick. This governor and his rubber-stamp legislators think they’re saving the state money by cutting people off Medicaid but it only shifts costs.

Without Medicaid, people seek medical attention in the emergency room — a much more expensive alternative. Hospitals pass increased costs on those with insurance. Fewer people can keep up with the increased premiums, so they cancel their health insurance policies. So now there are even more people using emergency rooms for primary care. As this cycle continues, how long do you suppose it will be before health insurance becomes so costly that only the rich can afford it?

Make sure that in November, you vote for people who have a whit of common sense — people like Brian Jones, who’s running for the Legislature in District 45. He’s a husband, a father, a volunteer firefighter, a town selectman and a math teacher. He’ll make sure the numbers add up instead of rubber stamping the governor’s agenda.

Diane Hull

Unity

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