I believe that programs that are proven to work, and that help hardworking families make ends meet during tough times should be expanded. For example, as an elected town official, I understand the benefits of programs to seniors such as the Property Tax Fairness Program, which offsets the tax shift from income taxes to property taxes on those who seniors who struggle to pay their property taxes. This and other programs targeted to help seniors, particularly those that help seniors remain at home while they age, should be protected and expanded.
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I believe that state aid to schools is underfunded. We have had 12 years to fully fund this voter mandated program at 55%, yet it has never reached that threshold. As a Town Councilor, I have witnessed the negative impact on towns when the state does not fund the schools. When there is no money from the state, towns raise property taxes and hurt the families who are least able to pay.
I am a gun owner and the Chair of the Firing Range Committee in my town. I believe that not everyone should have access to guns. Background checks are important . Any questionable concerns regarding transfers and possession while hunting can be addressed by tweaking those details of this legislation.
Hardworking Mainers serve to be paid living wages. This legislation allows for a graduated increase which gives small business owners like myself time to budget and plan accordingly for this common sense measure.
The statistics on this are clear. We cannot just enforce our way out of the opioid crisis that grips this state. Treatment modalities of all types are needed for those who suffer from substance abuse disorder.
The size of the legislature is appropriate at this time. I do not advocate for increases in pay.
Right to work legislation is an effort by out-of-state special interest groups to tell Mainers how to run our businesses. I oppose right to work laws and any legislation that makes corporate profit more important than the wages of the workers.
The biggest barrier to economic development in this state is the lack of good paying jobs that keep graduating students in Maine. We need to be encouraging businesses to pay good wages for quality work that attracts young people to this state. We need to be supporting schools and training programs that prepare our young people for good paying jobs.
I agree that immigration is another factor that will help reverse this trend. A part of addressing this trend must start with elected officials ending their attacks on immigrant communities and communities of color. Hanging an 'open for business' sign is one thing, but acting like a state that is truly open and welcoming is quite another. The legislature should help ensure that career training and career ladders are available to Maine's immigrant communities, to help put people to work and to bolster Maine's economy.
As a Town Councilor, I receive frequent messages and emails from seniors who are struggling to remain in their homes, pay for their medications, and stay well nourished. When it is time for more specialized care, the family has to jump through almost insurmountable barriers and red tape to qualify their loved one for Maine Care. There is a huge unmet need for programming for those folks who have lived and worked hard all their lives, but are now left with anxiety about living out their lives in dignity. This needs to change.