Overall, I believe the Governor and Legislature have made substantial progress to right-size Maines social services. We need to continue to work with recipients to help them gain employment and give them a temporary hand-up until they are on their feet. We also need to make sure that fraud is investigated and that charges are filed where warranted. It doesnt matter how small the problem is because we need to set examples for all recipients. By studying the effects of what happens with our social services, we can then determine what should be increased or decreased. There will always be a need for us to help our most needy. We currently are not adequately serving a number of our elderly and disabled Mainers. We are significantly underfunding our nursing homes, shortchanging hospitals by decreasing funds from their emergency rooms and not providing resources for daycare recipients by making it more difficult to provide for subsidy to help them go to work.
I have no problem in decreasing the state income tax as long as we dont take funds from Department of Education or other departments that have needs we dont meet now, but I do object in doing away with the income tax entirely until the residents that I represent know how those funds will be replaced. Will it be replaced by less revenue sharing, increased sales tax, increased consumption tax or will it come from the funding of DHHS and the Department of Education? Before the people I represent have to vote on this referendum, the people should have that answer. Until they do, I would not support doing away with the state income tax.
I believe in medical marijuana but we have already expanded the eligibility to enable most people to be able qualify for a prescription. This expansion of eligibility makes me wonder if marijuana has already made it legal in Maine. My concern to legalization are the current problem in regard to drug use and the impact on our youth, employers and communities.
To increase taxes for those professionals we need in Maine is counterproductive. The gain we made in lowering the income tax will be null and void with this movement. My understanding is that the funds that would be raised would be for instructional only. What would prevent from taking the funds already allocated for instruction and putting it in another area. I am not sure that this has been vetted thoroughly enough. A penny on the sales tax may be a better option to increase state aid to education.
This bill is not clear especially in regard to transfers. I believe in background checks but this effort will do nothing to deter criminals or stop crime. It will only serve to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain guns for protection. I have more questions than answers on this referendum, therefore, I will not be supporting the initiative.
My concern is three-fold. 1. Should Government tell business what to pay their employees? If so, shouldnt it start at the Federal level? 2. Will our small businesses in rural areas be able to survive with the increase they will be expected to pay? 3. Those who earn tips will lose if this bill is passed because they will only be eligible for the minimum wage and not be able to collect tips.
Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills stated that the citizen initiative that would establish ranked-choice voting should go to voters, but the bill raises significant constitutional concerns and may be impossible to implement without amending the Maine Constitution. Why would we vote for a referendum that we know has problems?
I believe that they should be done together. We still need more addiction treatment and support centers and the ability to incorporate religious-based centers along with treatment centers with the use of methadone and suboxone. There should also be a focus on a plan for each client and the ability to show that they will eventually be drug free. Law enforcement at the same time has to intercept drug traffickers from bringing them into the state. I cant foresee one without the other.
If we reduce the size of the House, rural areas will not be heard. The Maine House is the peoples House. For instance, each House member represents about 8,800 people while Senators represent about 37,950 residents. In some rural areas, the geographical area is very large and, because of that, it is my belief that if the House membership is reduced then rural areas will not have representation.
Some argue that the low pay for serving in the Legislature results in more retired people running for office rather than people who are currently in the workforce and cant afford to serve. While I recognize thoseconcerns, I dont think this is the time to be raising legislative pay.
I joined the Union when I worked because they provided a benefit that I wanted to have such as Income Protection, etc. No employee should be forced to pay for union dues unless the employee feels they are provided a benefit.
Taxes, regulations, technology and energy are out biggest barrier in Economic Development. We need to make the right investments and build partnerships among the public sector, the private sector and the research community.
Census data show Maines population is aging and decreasing, with some economists suggesting that immigration is the best way to reverse those trends. What should the state do to address this demographic trend?
Creating more opportunities for small businesses and ensure the tax code isn't rigged against small business owners and the working people.
Our elderly and their needs and the shortages of service industry like fireman, police, medical personnel, teachers, professionals etc. If our communities, county, state and federal government do not prepare for these needs in these areas, we may have a need far worse than we have now with the heroin epidemic.