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Tuesday, April 28, 2015: Sales tax increase, climate change questions, junk food for none

Open for business?

I am a small-business owner in Sanford and I am very concerned that our governor and our legislators are not considering the total impact of the 6 percent sales tax on services. I have talked with quite a few other small-business owners who, like me, only provide a service or labor and we don’t see how this new tax is “business friendly.”

Currently, we do not have to file a sales tax return and with either budget, we will have to file one, monthly, quarterly or annually depending on the total of service fees received, creating more paperwork and expense. We will either have to ask for the 6-percent tax or raise our labor rates to cover the added expense. I am concerned that some small businesses, where competition is strong, will absorb the added expense and it will come out of their bottom line.

Have they considered what this is going to do to all the communities within 50 miles of the Maine-New Hampshire border? We small-business owners know we will lose business to New Hampshire businesses that do not collect any sales taxes. It doesn’t sound to me like “Maine is open for business.”

Patty Kidder


No junk food

Why do politicians who purport to value freedom from government interference so readily interfere in our bedrooms, our doctors’ offices and now in our grocery stores? Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, has introduced a bill to restrict purchases made with food stamps. Apparently the senator believes that Maine taxpayers want to be sure that taxpayer dollars are used for healthy foods instead of soda, chips, candy and other junk foods.

I say let’s make a deal: Make certain that no taxpayer dollars are used for junk food. In other words, let’s pay Maine’s elected officials with EBT cards that can’t be used for Goldfish or Ben & Jerry’s, but will cover all the kale that Katz can carry. In the long run, this should improve the health of our entire state.

Mark Lupinetti


Fossil fuel harm

In an April 21 BDN OpEd, Maine Sierra Club Director Glen Brand called out Gov. Paul LePage for his “adamant and irrational opposition” to an economy founded on clean, renewable energy. Brand notes that the transition to such an economy is inevitable, but adds that the governor’s opposition, even sabotage, is making it far more costly.

Who will be bearing those costs? I am a teacher of seventh- and eighth-grade students. When they read that the Gulf of Maine has been warming over the past decade faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, what should I tell them about our governor’s energy policies?

When they hear how a specially appointed legislative study panel found that ocean acidification has been progressing faster in the Gulf of Maine than in more southerly waters and that all its shell-producers (every clam, oyster, mussel, lobster, crab, coral and shelled zooplankton at the base of the ocean food chain) are consequently at risk, what should I tell them about our governor’s energy policies?

When they learn that commercial cod fishing is gone, commercial shrimp fishing is gone and commercial clamming in many places along the Maine coast is going, what should I tell them about our governor’s energy policies?

The science is clear: Ocean warming and acidification is being caused by carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels. When asked by 13- and 14- year-old Maine children what we’re doing about it, what should I tell them?

Lee Chisholm


Concealed carry rationale

I’m not sure why anyone should be opposed to “ constitutional carry” of firearms as being considered in the Legislature. Last I knew, criminals didn’t pay any attention to the laws anyway and they always carry their guns concealed, and they are not supposed to have a gun in the first place. So in reality it would just be the law-abiding people that this law affects, by limiting their ability to defend themselves and others should the need arise.

The current law allows open carry by anyone who can legally possess a handgun, so opposition to this bill will not keep guns out of anyone’s hands that should not have them. Training in the safe use and carry of firearms is recommended, but should not prohibit a person from being able to defend themselves nor prohibit someone from protecting their firearm from the weather by wearing it under a coat or jacket.

Like the legislator who introduced the bill said, wearing a jacket or coat should not make an otherwise legally carried gun illegal.

John Dykstra


School takeover

Few would disagree with the intentions expressed by Kara Hay in her glowing support of LD 956, “An Act to Create Community Schools” in her April 22 BDN OpEd. I’m sure her comments reflect the vision of Penquis, which would likely benefit greatly if this act is passed. But before voting, we need to look at the realities of this bill.

Given the breathtaking scope of this utopian bill, offering practically every possible public service, I’m surprised anyone could take it seriously. For example, there is no funding mechanism. Has anyone even tried to guess at the cost?

And the bill charges our school boards and superintendents with planning these “communities.” Where is the public control? Who will decide what is taught and who gets services? The school board? The superintendent?

In the end, LD 956 will make schools the community itself. The schools will become not just guardians of our children while they are at school, but surrogate parents. In the end, will they force our children to live at school?

There is a huge moral issue here: Will we let our schools, staffed by an army of bureaucrats and social workers, take our children away by keeping them for nearly all their waking hours and acting as their primary caregivers? How can teachers and administrators, who have no experience whatsoever in providing or integrating these services into schools, be asked to do these tasks?

But I’m sure that many will support this bill nonetheless because for them the ends justify the means.

David Lentini

North Berwick


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