February 18, 2019
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Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019: Protect small state voices, increase revenue sharing, housing bond helps many

Increase revenue sharing

The Maine Democratic Party’s platform states, “We support a democratic government that implements a budget that reduces local government dependence on regressive property taxes by meeting the state legislative commitments to Maine communities of 5 percent revenue sharing and 55 percent state support for education funding.”

A Jan. 21 BDN article described the gross inequity in who carries the property tax burden in Maine, with the top 1 percent paying less than a quarter of what Mainers pay on average. With revenue sharing reduced to 2 percent, municipalities are forced to increase property taxes to pay for schools and necessary services. In my town in recent years, property taxes have increased more than 32 percent. Many others increased much more than that.

Relieving the property tax burden on Maine’s most vulnerable was a stated priority for many candidates during the midterm campaign season. So was funding our schools, as we voted for previously. By returning revenue sharing to the 5 percent it is intended to be, the new Legislature and governor have the opportunity to make real their stated commitments to the will of the voters and the economic needs of our communities.

Carla White

South Thomaston

Protect small state voices

Some in the Democratic Party want to disenfranchise voters in Maine. Also in New Hampshire, Vermont, Kansas, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho and other states that have four or fewer representatives in the House of Representatives. They want to do this by taking away our voice in passing national laws and electing presidents. Some Democrats and their media apparatchiks are on record as wanting to either abolish the Senate or change it to proportional representation, like the House. Voices on the left are also calling for the elimination of the Electoral College.

If the Democrats are successful in these efforts, states like Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and others with small populations would never again have a voice in choosing our president, selecting federal judges or getting laws passed. The kingmakers in states like California and New York would overwhelm our voices with their huge numbers. Those two states alone have 60 percent more representatives than 22 smaller states, combined. If Democrats succeed, people in Maine and other lightly populated states will truly see taxation without representation.

Do you want to have the ruling elite in New York and California deciding what’s best for you? Then keep voting for Democrats.

Larry Gilbert

Hampden

Housing bond helps many

I am writing to thank Gov. Janet Mills for acting so quickly to release the senior housing bond. Her leadership on this critical issue will enable more Mainers to age in place through the building of new, affordable, accessible and safe homes for older Mainers. Additionally, funds will be dedicated to home repair and weatherization of existing homes, some of which are the oldest in the country.

I was privileged to speak at the news conference at the State House on Jan. 15 when Mills spoke and then released the housing bond funds. I spoke to the crowd about my dear friend Loraine, who was unable to remain in her own apartment because, as she aged, she could no longer manage to climb stairs. She once fell while I was with her and was clearly in danger of serious injury if she remained where she was. Thanks to a move into senior housing, she is now in a less expensive apartment that is on one floor, which will enable her to live independently for years to come.

Loraine is one of many. There are nearly 10,000 older Mainers who have been waiting to move into affordable housing literally for years. Mainers of all ages, but particularly older Mainers, need this investment in affordable, accessible, safe homes. Thank you to Mills for releasing the bond, thank you to former Sen. David Burns and former House Speaker Mark Eves for their leadership on the original bill, and thanks to every legislator and advocate who worked to make this happen.

Sammee Quong

Volunteer advocate

AARP Maine

Augusta

 



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