In response to the article (BDN, July 4-5) about the flag maker in Milo who lost his contract to sell flags to the state titled, “It’s not fair”: You’re right, it’s not fair!
How much did our state lose while saving money on a contract for flags by doing business with an out-of-state company? With our state in economic hard times a little common sense should be applied. How many dollars of income tax would Mr. Lougee have paid for his meager profit, how much payroll tax would Mr. Lougee have paid to his part-time help to produce these flags?
Will Mr. Lougee be in business next year after losing this state contract to pay his property tax? How much will this Pennsylvania business that got the contract contribute to Maine tax revenues or local non-profits?
Doing business locally needs to be a top down venture. Whether it is flags for the State House or you and me buying products locally, a savings of 4 percent to 5 percent is a shortsighted benefit.
End Maine outsourcing
I was very interested to read the article in the July 4 BDN about the out-of-state contract for flags. Interested, but not surprised. As the governor and all our representatives and senators should already know, the state spends millions every year buying goods and services from other states that could be purchased from Maine businesses.
How many millions in one year? From Pennsylvania, where the flags are coming from, it was $17,971,054 in 2008; Connecticut was $42,498,508; Massachusetts $44,188,522; New York $14,194,659 and on it goes. Many of these items are things that can be purchased right here in Maine.
Wouldn’t it be great for our state if just one-third of this money ended up in the hands of Maine businesses? Wouldn’t it be something if the governor and our Legislature cut out-of-state spending by one-third for the coming year?
Don’t fall for the reasoning that other states will reciprocate and not spend money in Maine. That is a poor excuse for how state economic policy should be drafted and I doubt very much if Connecticut or New York spend $40 million a year on Maine goods and services. I also doubt very much that Maine “exports a lot more than it imports” as David Farmer, spokesman for the governor, stated.
Thanks to MaineOpenGov.org for providing these statistics. Visit that Web site for a detailed list of all goods and services purchased from other states, right down to the last paper clip!
Local flavor needed
What’s Maine radio without Maine humor? Without the humble Farmer (BDN, July 6), the public radio offerings lack any local flavor. They should change the name to Somewhere Public Radio. Mr. Skoglund did occasionally use political humor on his show, but it was about the humor, not the politics. And once he read a letter from a woman describing how a tax cut had worked out in another state. But Humble never told people how to vote, as David Morse alleged in the BDN’s article. I would challenge him to cite a quote and a date.
And the word is …
In the spring, President Obama removed and replaced the CEO of General Motors.
Last month, state and federal health care regulators removed the CEO and board of trustees control of a private, nonprofit hospital and replaced them with a court-appointed receiver. The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the state Department of Health and Human Services had that power because 80 percent of the hospital’s revenues come from Medicare and Medicaid (MaineCare).
This summer and, likely into the fall, we are having a national debate on how much government we should have in health care. The aforementioned Medicare program is highlighted by single payer-more government advocates as an example of what an excellent job government and regulators can do.
There are names for systems where the political sector controls and directs business and the economy.
$1 million a day
We are the only industrial nation without guaranteed health care for all its citizens, regardless of economic status or medical history.
Twenty-thousand Americans die yearly from lack of access to affordable quality health care. Forty-six million have no health insurance. Millions more have coverage inadequate to cover medical costs, because of high deductibles or profit-motivated rejection of claims.
Health insurance, pharmaceutical and other health care industry companies spend $1 million a day lobbying to defeat health care reform which includes a universal single-payer government-run plan, the only reasonable, workable, affordable option. Much of that money goes to lawmakers now debating health care reform, including $1 million to Maine’s Sen. Olympia Snowe and $3 million-plus to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the committee working to draft reform legislation.
These companies are fueled by greed and enriched by illness rather than health; their mission is creating shareholder profit and obscene salaries for executives. Eliminating that profit and those salaries will enable a government-run, Medicare-like single payer plan to provide universal access to higher quality coverage at significantly lower cost.
Polls show that 72 percent of Americans want public health insurance. It is time for politicians to follow the will of the people. Their job is not to assure continued insurance company profit, but to provide health care for all, thus taking an important step towards a just and moral society.
Maine, bikes don’t mix
I’d like someone in the bicycling community to explain to me why it does not actively discourage bicycling on Maine’s narrow, winding, hilly, no-shoulder roads where the automobile speed limit is 45 mph and the actual speeds are from five to 10 mph higher. The resulting speed differential between bicycle and car and the poor sight distances create an incredible hazard.
In the past week I’ve had three close calls involving bicycles – one each on Routes 218, 220, and 105. All had the same characteristic – suddenly coming upon (around a curve or over a rise) an obstacle in my lane which was either a bicycle or an oncoming car trying to avoid a bicycle. Three such incidents in one week is a bit high in my experience but this sort of situation is entirely too frequent.
Bicycles do not belong where there are no bicycle lanes and/or where the speed differential is high. It’s just not safe for anyone.