The social services we provide are constantly reviewed and adjusted. As the cost of everything rises, so does the cost of these programs that we have decided are essential to help those in need. Whether it is temporary or long term, we are a caring society and will continue to help others, while making sure there is no fraud or waste in the programs.
Tax policy has been developed a piece at a time without consideration of the consequences. We have put the burden of paying for our state on the backs of our middle class. We need to expand the taxes that bring in money from our visitors and make sure we are progressive in our income and property taxes. This can be done by having a better property tax Homestead exemption for residents, and a fair upper income tax for those who earn larger amounts without the ability to use deductions to pay less than those earning far less.
Marijuana has so many healthy uses and has been regulated by misinformation. It has driven the supply into the hands of unscrupulous dealers who sell harmful and addictive drugs that cause a great deal of pain and suffering in our communities. By selling it to adults, taxing it and removing it from the criminal justice system, we will be able to focus our efforts on the opioid addiction problems we are in the midst of. It also has pain relief and cancer healing properties that we will be able to explore more fully when labs have access to it for study.
This falls under the comprehensive tax reform that I mentioned previously. It is another piecemeal attempt at fair taxation that is driven by the income tax cut that was not funded properly by the Governor and a previous legislature. The cut drove more of the burden of education onto the property tax payers who were already being hit too hard by the legislature ignoring the 55 percent mandate that a previous Citizens Referendum had achieved.
This will help create tax fairness until the big picture of tax reform can be accomplished.
In Maine, we have a long history of respecting gun rights and a strong hunting tradition. I have no interest in taking guns away from law-abiding citizens or creating any unnecessary burdens on them. However, I also know it's far too easy for criminals from out of state who cannot obtain guns where they live to come to Maine and buy one through Craigslist or Uncle Henry's no questions asked. I also know that a quarter of homicides in Maine come from domestic gun violence. I support the referendum because if a simple background check can prevent even one of those homicides, or keep a gun out of the hands of a criminal, it's worth it. That said, this is by no means a perfect referendum. If it passes, the Legislature will immediately need to iron out the kinks to ensure families and friends can continue to hunt or target shoot together without hassle.
This is a great start at bringing minimum wage earners into the economy. As the cost of everything has risen, less jobs have moved past the minimum wage and folks working 40 hours are eligible for state aid. Also, by eliminating the tipped minimum, workers will get fair pay when business is slow but workers have to work anyway. It is a great referendum and ultimately ties the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.
Ranked choice voting is a great way to make sure that the winning candidate has a majority of the votes. It also has the effect of cleaning up campaigns since voters will not react favorably and choose a candidate for their subsequent choice if they run a nasty campaign.
No, The war on drugs has been a 40 year failed experiment. We need to reduce demand by educating kids to the dangers. We need to do this with reasonable and intelligent arguments that can be understood and respected. Trying to scare our kids away from drugs has had the opposite result so it is time refine the message. We also need to provide as much treatment as necessary to help every addict return to a drug free life and become a valued member of their communities.
The present system works well, the Legislature should continue to elect them.
There are plenty of examples of House districts covering larger areas in other states. I could see a reduction in Representatives with an increase in pay to value the job. This would draw in folks who would be great assets to the people of Maine, but who could not afford to take on such a big job for $12,000 per year.
Yes, we have a higher standard of behavior to maintain because of our position. If someone is so obtuse as to not understand fundamental decency or civility, the legislature should be able to help educate them.
No, these laws are just ways to further reduce the wages and benefits of workers. Unions forced companies to value their workers and to add benefits to the jobs. The goal of many corporations now is to pay as little as possible, reduce benefits and make random schedules that make it hard to juggle work and families.
Yes, we have opened the door and have no need to protect any private corporation because it is already here and makes millions of dollars off our citizens. Casinos are a business and competition makes businesses better.
The massive size of our state and the small population that has to pay for the infrastructure and care of our resources. We need to draw more people to what we have by protecting those resources and making it easy and desirable for people to visit. We have to create jobs that cannot be exported to 25 cent per hour countries, while keeping our workers out of the economy with stagnant or reduced wages as the cost of goods and services continues to rise.
Welcome folks who are willing to come here and raise families. Most immigrants are ready and willing to work so we need to remove any barriers to them being employable from the first day they arrive. We need these young families desperately with the services jobs that are not being filled for our elderly.
Moving to renewable energy generation. We are way behind with a technology that create jobs that stay here, eliminates fossil fuel emissions which will protect our health and environment and reduce the cost of energy to our residents.
We need to move to a system of universal healthcare that controls costs while providing services to all. With all the money wasted on insurance company greed, we could run a program for the people of Maine helped them when they became sick instead of driving them into bankruptcy at a vulnerable time.