Collins voted wrong on tax bill
The Joint Committee on Taxation just said the average tax cut for all taxpayers earning up to $100,000 is $359 in 2019. The amount goes down each year. Also, 95 percent of Maine homeowners will no longer get a tax benefit from owning a home. The National Association of Realtors predicts the value of the average home in Maine is likely to drop at least 10 percent.
The senator said in a letter of explanation that the bill “eliminates the penalty that people who don’t buy health insurance must pay as mandated by the Affordable Care Act — even if they cannot afford it.” What exactly should these people do if they can’t afford insurance? It is documented that health care costs will rise even more without the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Is this the way to begin to solve this problem?
The senator gambled with our lives. We lost. But I believe she will also lose. We will remember that she had the opportunity to show leadership and a good example, hold out for a bill that went through correct process, and do the right thing for the average Mainers rather than wealthy donors. We will remember when it is time to vote.
State government lacks business sense
Maine is a wonderful place to live, as long as you do not own a business. The state apparently does not know how to run a business efficiently but expects others to play by the rules.
I co-own an organization — Branches LLC — that provides residential services to developmentally delayed adults. We are expected to provide these services 24 hours a day, and we do. When reports are due for the state, we must comply within a given time period. But this is not reciprocated by the state.
We have been in business for 20 years and have never missed a deadline. But, once again, the state of Maine did not pay us on time. Did they recognize that it was the week of Christmas and our staff needed their paychecks. I bet you the state of Maine employees did not miss theirs.
We were able to process our paychecks because of good planning and responsible spending. Why can not the state do the same?
Support ranked-choice voting
The issue of ranked-choice voting, passed with enthusiasm by the voters of Maine, was tied up in knots by the Legislature. A people’s veto campaign is underway and must collect enough signatures by Jan. 19. To find a petitioner near you, simply contact a team captain for your area. You can find a name and contact information at rcvmaine.com.
If enough signatures are gathered to put the veto on the ballot, the upcoming state elections, including the very crowded gubernatorial primaries will be conducted by the ranked-choice method. This is especially important this year as both parties have many candidates with their hats in the ring for governor. Under our old method, a primary candidate with 15 percent or 20 percent of his or her party’s vote might be declared “the winner” and become the party candidate on the ballot.
Three state races are subject to some question about the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting, but the ranked-choice process of counting also reveals the plurality winner of the first round of counting and would unambiguously identify the winner by that standard, too.
Signing the petition just moves the question onto the ballot and gives us the June race as a test case for how ranked-choice voting works and how it serves us.