People pay taxes
There is a bill, LD 311, under consideration in the Legislature — only a concept draft is available at the moment — that would do away with certain business taxes and do away the the business income tax.
The U.S. Supreme Court in deciding the Citizens United case stated that corporations essentially are people. People pay taxes.
Maine cash pool belongs to the people
For Gov. Paul LePage to crow about Maine having $1 billion in the bank is like the librarian who brags that every single book, periodical, CD and DVD is secure in its designated place in the library.
That billion dollars belongs to the people of Maine. It is for our health, welfare, training, education, safety, protection and to help us in our common stewardship of our state and our fellow citizens.
Trump’s legitimacy questionable
Despite the long list of legitimate reasons to challenge President Donald Trump’s many executive orders, it is time to focus on the two documents that will attest to the president’s legitimacy to hold office: his tax returns and the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Tax returns would reveal whether Trump’s business dealings compromise his position as president through potential entanglements with foreign countries. Decisions he or his family make could conceivably undermine and impact the finances and safety of our country. There has been no good-faith effort on Trump’s part to comply with requests for an examination of his tax returns, which would reveal whether the president could be blackmailed by Vladimir Putin because of potential financial connections in Russia. This vital information should be made available for examination.
All U.S. presidents must abide by the Emoluments Clause that not only refers to the refusal of outright gifts from people or countries who may harbor expectations of reciprocity but also prohibits the president from accruing personal wealth or favor from business or diplomatic associations. Trump needs to divest himself from all such entanglements or relinquish his office. Trump has made no good faith effort to put his vast holdings into a blind trust or to sell them.
The legislative and judicial branches of government must examine and act upon these two fundamental issues. Once considered, the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress could move forward to challenge the very legitimacy of this presidency.
Follow in Mitchell’s footsteps
Last week, Sen. Susan Collins posted that she met with “dozens” of Mainers. Unfortunately, this hand selected group doesn’t come close to the thousands of Mainers who have requested meetings with the senator.
The purpose of a town hall is to have meaningful, face-to-face conversation. But the senator continues to insist that it is better to meet with “small groups” in the tradition of George Mitchell.
I recently read the following from the book “Statesman: George Mitchell and the Art of the Possible”:
“Mitchell really loved the state … [he would] come back to Maine and do a town meeting. … Mitchell never hid behind staff. He scheduled meetings with almost any Mainer who requested one and never ‘went Washington.’”
Times have changed. We have many questions that deserve answers. I hope the senator will follow in Mitchell’s footsteps.
While no one relishes burdensome regulations, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin should be vigilant of this administration’s professed intention to deconstruct our government. This will cause harm, particularly to the vulnerable, but this inequity pales in comparison to what looms ahead. There is an enormous climate elephant in the room and the refusal to accept it has skewed the debate away from a holistic and critical assessment of the science.
The price of denial is an inevitable collapse of civilization and essentially the extinction of all life. Developments indicate this tragedy could unfold over the next few decades unless we take strong measures to limit carbon dioxide emissions and to boost our resiliency.
Unfortunately, the situation is broader than just climate disruption. Environmental degradation, pollution and habitat loss have driven an annual species loss of more than 1,000 and has been labeled the sixth mass extinction. The Titanic of humanity is fast approaching the iceberg, while the band plays and the clock ticks away.
Unless we address this issue, all life will likely disappear on our watch. So, I implore us all to listen to the prayers and wisdom being offered by the indigenous First Nations people as they seek to protect the waters, the Earth and all creation. Listen to them as they implore us to keep the oil in the ground and nurture our beautiful home. Listen to them as they implore us to choose life.
Make Rockland an open community
I am an advocate at New Hope for Women. I work to end domestic and dating violence and stalking, and while I work occasionally with adults, the overwhelming majority of my work is with students at Oceanside High School.
I have seen the next generation of adults in our community targeted, threatened and made to feel unsafe. Being privy to the struggles and successes of the students has made me aware that many do not feel our community is open, respectful and healthy, and I can say with equal certainty that open, respectful, healthy and safe is how we want it to be.
The city of Rockland’s proposed resolution of commitment to promoting an open, respectful and healthy community is a step toward correction. A municipality that chooses to stand for a safer community helps carry that sense of safety into our homes and schools.
This resolution is the first step, and a way to send an important message to everyone in this area that our city is forward thinking and wants to create a community where all people can thrive.
Rockland is already a city so many of us are proud of, and we want to continue to grow this pride. We want to be known as a city that is welcoming to those who live here, to those who visit, and to those who will someday call Rockland home. I encourage the City Council and Mayor Will Clayton to support this resolution.