Monday, March 17, 2014: Bangor Post Office, Medicaid expansion, tax havens

Posted March 16, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.

Kudos to post office

I have been wanting to write this letter for about two years now concerning the extraordinary service I have received while being a frequent patron of the Bangor Post Office. I moved to Bangor over two years ago from Columbus, Ga., leaving behind a daughter and a 2-year old grandson who meant the world to me.

Though I don’t see them as often as I would like to, I have been maintaining frequent contact through bi-annual visits and mailing my grandson Addison packages that allow for him to continually remember my presence at heart.

I have been in and out of that post office many times since I’ve been here in Bangor, oftentimes rushing and/or having been somewhat unprepared for this new activity of mine. All the staff members who I have seen every time I have entered the post office have never ceased to amaze me in their proficiency, efficiency, simple courteous mannerisms (not obviously being courteous for the sake of customer service and the boss), helpful with options available for sending and extra tape whenever needed. I have used postal services in many states in my lifetime, and I must say that the Bangor Post Office tops them all.

Patricia Thompson

Bangor

Who is the poorer?

I appreciated Christy Daggett’s piece on how Medicaid expansion would help rural Maine. Without taking a position on Medicaid expansion per se, as an economist I can tell you that with the majority of states in our country expanding Medicaid, and our state passing on the proposal, we become poorer as a state, and those states that accept Medicaid expansion become richer.

Daggett’s principal focus is upon rural Maine. As a rural hospital CEO, the daily message is that rural health care is very much at risk. With 15 of 36 hospitals in Maine losing money, and with the average Maine hospital with an operating margin of only 2.51 percent, we need to rethink what it is going to take to care for our most vulnerable citizens.

Nationally, hospitals the size of mine (25-49 beds) have an average margin of 4.9 percent. It seems to me that we can stand on principle and as a state become poorer, or as citizens, we need to speak to Congress about sound economic policy.

It is not sound for Maine to be an economic outlier and stay the course to become poorer. To reduce economic theory to a practical level, if everyone else gets but us, who is the poorer?

Douglas T. Jones

President, CEO

Down East Community Hospital

Machias

Digital and manufacturing

Recently the BDN ran an article that appears to put U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, out of step with his constituent base on issues related to a move toward digital versus paper. As the piece points out, it’s not surprising that he has made manufacturing paper a priority as he worked in a paper mill for two decades. But that does not tell the whole story of who he is and what he stands for.

Michaud has answered the call of his constituent base by responding when is needed to save all manufacturing jobs, not just paper. He has spent his time wisely according to those who know him, working tirelessly on trade and policy reform regarding manufacturing here in Maine.

Just as Maine has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, we also have some of the oldest papermakers in the world. As paper companies diversify to maintain a competitive edge, these workers act nimbly with their many years of experience running the machines at higher speeds with more productivity and better quality.

A component of an older workforce and certainly the baby boomers that are still working brings another anomaly: We are not as nimble when it comes to computers and the digital process. We like news on paper; we like magazines on paper; we like Social Security statements on paper; we like our bank statements on paper. You get the picture.

Michaud has found the balance that Mainers have requested.

Patrick Carleton

Chesterville

Outstanding person

I would like to thank former Riverview Psychiatric Center Superintendent Mary Louise McEwen for her contribution to the mental health system in Maine. Whenever the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office encountered roadblocks in finding placement for the seriously mentally ill, she was always there to help.

She is an outstanding person, and I am very sorry to see her leave her position of oversight of Dorothea Dix and Riverview psychiatric hospitals.

Glenn Ross

Exeter

Orono ice

I believe it was very disrespectful for the Merrimack College student section to turn their backs to the ice when the Maine hockey team was introduced recently in Orono. I have never seen this done at any college sporting event regardless of the intensity of a rivalry.

Donald Page

Hermon

Tax laws

I am writing in regard to LD 1120, An Act To Improve Maine’s Tax Laws. I don’t like paying taxes; I’m sure no one does. However, after reading a report on the loss of revenues due to offshore tax havens, I had a change of heart.

The estimated loss according to a report from US. Public Interest Research Group in 2011 is approximately $7.2 million total to Maine tax revenues. The current recession has already crippled the middle and working classes. Mainers living poverty are further oppressed by the current economic paradigm. I can think of many ways to improve the quality of life for Mainers, rather than having a tax loophole that is borderline money laundering.

The “water’s edge” tax tricks need to be brought into the limelight. Tax breaks for the wealthy should only be for those who employ and give generous benefits to the rest of the population, with full transparency. Currently, this issue in the Legislature seems to be divided; it makes me question where the money trail leads. Is this politics as usual or something more corrupt? Who will benefit from keeping the status quo?

I don’t care what the political parties do, Maine lawmakers just need to fix it.

Samuel Martin

Old Town

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