LETTERS

Wednesday, May 1, 2013: Tax cuts, mining and retirement benefits

Posted April 30, 2013, at 11:32 a.m.

Voodoo economics

Now let me get this straight. Last year the governor requested, and the Legislature passed, a tax cut mainly for the rich.

Most of us voters thought they had a way to pay for it. We now know they had no idea where the money would come from. Now they want to push the problem onto the towns and cities, which are already operating on bare-bones budgets, causing them to raise property taxes.

The governor and Legislature must think we are all fools. As I always say, “Stupid is as stupid does.” The time has come to kick these career politicians where it hurts, right out of office.

David H. Crockett

Augusta

Mining responsibility

I live in Maine because it offers a clean environment and quality of life exceeding any place I’ve lived. Maine is now in the sights for companies looking to open large-scale metallic mines. Last year the Legislature approved an overhaul of mining regulations, LD 1853, after what appeared to be lobbying by J.D. Irving, seeking to mine in Aroostook County.

The danger of open pit mines is known worldwide. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Toxics Release Inventory, U.S. mining accounted for 41 percent of all toxic waste released in the country in 2010, exceeding any other industry.

The mining process often creates a situation where acid mine drainage leaches into local water sources, changing water chemistry and killing most or all aquatic life. As a well owner enjoying our pure water, I want it preserved.

The Legislature, and my state Rep. Roger Reed, R-Carmel, must act to improve the law passed last session by voting in favor of LD 1302, a bill to strengthen protections from mining pollution and guarantee that companies are held responsible for pollution.

Between 1988 and 2011 I visited El Salvador four times, where I learned from Salvadorans what it takes to stop mining that threatens the country’s water supply. Having learned from people elsewhere who have overcome the power of economic interests, I trust that informed and committed residents can ensure that Maine is not changed for short-term economic gain, that does not “trickle down” to residents, but poses a major threat to land and quality of life in the future.

Georgia Kosciusko

Stetson

Why so fearful?

“What are you afraid of? Do you have something to hide? We are talking about children here.”

All these comments were made to me when I clearly thought my Fifth Amendment right was being violated. Fingerprinting all educators — what happened to the Fifth Amendment and “innocent until proven guilty”?

I did not have anything to hide, so I was fingerprinted. Was I angry? Yes. Did I believe my rights were being violated? You bet.

There was no million-dollar association funding my rights. There was no big-time lobby holding my government representatives hostage to protect their next election.

I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to own a gun. They can hunt; they can protect themselves and their property. No one is trying to take their guns away from them.

Now it is my turn to ask the very people who asked me, “What is your problem? Do you have something to hide? We are talking about children here.”

These people who saw nothing wrong with my having to be fingerprinted are refusing to have a gun registration. I guess it depends on whose rights are being violated.

I have a couple of questions for the “defenders of the Second Amendment.” Do they need an assault weapon to kill an animal? Do they need a 30-round magazine to protect themselves? Do they believe any one organization should have the power to hold our elected officials hostage? Do they have the “right” to pick and choose only the parts of the U.S. Constitution they like?

Register guns. I registered my fingerprints. Or do people have something to hide?

Catherine P. Richard

Bangor

Honest retirement benefits

If people in Maine are denied their Social Security benefits because of the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset, there is a way they can help get these two unfair and unjust laws repealed. They are only used in 14 states, and unfortunately Maine is one of them.

A bill has just been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. It calls for the complete repeal of both the WEP and the GPO. Contact a representative soon using www.contactingthecongress.org, or call them on the phone.

Ask to have them co-sponsor HR 1779. My representative is Mike Michaud, D-Maine, and his Washington, D.C., office is at 202-225-6306, or his Bangor office is at 942-6935.

Soon a bill will also be filed in the U.S. Senate to repeal WEP and GPO. Hopefully these bills will be passed in both houses of Congress and be sent to President Barack Obama to be signed into law during this year of 2013. Obama has stated he would support the repeal.

All retirees should have all the retirement benefits they honestly earned.

Karen E. Holmes

Cooper

Moving Wall visit

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, Sherman Area Memorial VFW Post 2299 and its Ladies Auxiliary are hosting a visit of the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall Memorial. This will be the only visit of the memorial in Maine this year.

“The Wall” will be open to the public and on display at Katahdin High School in Stacyville from June 20-24, 24 hours a day. A ceremony will be held on site at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22. That same evening, there will be a beautiful patriotic cantata held inside the school auditorium at 7.

Everyone is welcome to attend. This will be a chance for Vietnam veterans to say goodbye to old friends, comrades-in-arms or to thank a buddy who saved their lives. For others, it’s an opportunity to visit a replica of the memorial that is in Washington, D.C.

The memorial carries the names of more than 58,000 men and women who lost their lives in Vietnam. It is our chance to say “thank you” and “welcome home” to our Vietnam veterans.

Colleen Guiggey

Sherman

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