J. Harwood: Fed up with LePage, Augusta

Why, when every time Augusta cuts, it's always the poor, the elderly and education? Now, Augusta is cutting some money to meals on wheels.

A lot of the elderly depend on that service. I am getting fed up with Gov. LePage and Augusta. I know cuts have to be made, but why the poor, the elderly and education?

I know there is waste in Augusta. Let's find and cut that.

I guess Augusta cuts the poor, the elderly and education because it's the easy way out.

Jim Harwood, Lewiston

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MARK GRAVEL's picture

Because health, education,

Because health, education, and welfare are the biggest state expenditures. It is reasonable to assume the biggest expenditures will be subject to cuts.

 's picture

This is going to sound extremely harsh

but it has to be said.
Social services and education are the two biggest costs that the state has right now so they are the biggest targets for cuts. Whether you like the idea or not, the poor have other family members, somewhere, who should be supporting them if they need it, instead of the state. The elderly should also have family to support them, beyond what social security and medicare provides, just as those same elderly people once supported their families. It's time for people to take care of their own instead of relying on the government to do it.
If the poor (not the elderly and frail) don't have support systems then there are streets to be swept, Street crossings to be watched, crossing lanes to be painted, cemetery's to be mowed, and any number of other tasks to be performed that "the poor" (not the disabled, the poor) could be put to work doing to earn their keep. Doing this would allow towns and the state to use funds that would otherwise be lost to make repairs to roads and bridges and other infrastructure needs.
Education costs in Maine, and around the nation, have continued to rise while the quality of education has gone down (look at the costs of education systems around the world vs ours before you reply). Governor LePage is trying to upgrade the education system in Maine, but he is being stalled by the MEA because they don't want to change.
It is infrastructure that needs to be paid for in Maine. Roads and bridges are falling apart and are a major source of vehicle damage in the state. Business tax rates need to be lowered to attract job makers, and energy costs need to be lowered. This new push for natural gas lines is a great move in the right direction because it will benefit everyone with lower energy costs.
Maine must move into the 21st century in order to compete on a national level. We have marvelous natural resources to share, but we also have great port facilities and a workforce that (for the most part, since I can't speak for the new immigrants) doesn't shy away from actual WORK.

Another idea... how about making parents pay for the extra time that a teacher has to spend with a child (who has no special needs) If the child is capable of learning but refuses to. I bet that would go over like a fart in church. Either the parent pays or the child goes to work like the rest of the poor. What you wanna bet that the grades would change really fast??
Just for the record, I work, my children graduated and work, and my 82 year old mother still works when she wants to, to supplement her SS and pension if she wants to go on vacation. None of us ask for anything that we haven't earned and if we do need it, we ask each other, not the state.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

How about making all people

How about making all people with children in K-12 pay a user's fee to attend school. If you want kids, pay for them - period.

 's picture


...LePage has to protect his rich business friends.

AL PELLETIER's picture

How to get elected.

Jim, do you know how many people employed by the state make $100K a year or more in total compensation? I'll tell you, too damn many!
If a candidate running against Lepage in the next election would make cutting state employees pay by 10% if they're making 50K or more a year and 20% if their making 100K or more as part of his (or her) platform, he (or she) would garner a lot of popularity.
That should be the starting place for reducing the cost of state government instead of breaking the financial backs of the average Mainer making 30K or less a year.
For far too long Augusta has been looking at what other states pay their employees to establish what is competitive. Mainers don't make the kind of money folks from away make so if state employees don't like the compensation we have to offer, TOUGH! Move to Massachusetts.

 's picture

What kind of idiot

would take a job for $30,000 a year after spending $50,000 for an education? Are you qualified to take over the jobs of those people who you condemn for making a living wage?
If you are capable and are willing to work for the state at $30k a year, which by the way, is $10k below the median income in Maine, then by all means, please go for it.. If you don't like what you make here, rather than complain about what other people are making, why don't YOU move to Massachusetts???

AL PELLETIER's picture

What kind of idiot?

The kind that will hold out for a lucrative state job rather then enter the public sector. And am I qualified? Although I'm retired I'd say 6 years of service to my country, college, then 35 years of managing some very large and successful businesses, including my own, might very well qualify me for several high paying state jobs.
Judging by your comment, Ed, I'd guess your from away and have, or had, a state job here making over 50K. If I'm wrong, it was just a guess.
PS. How much are we taxpayers going to pay this new Savage guy Lepage just hired. His "50K in education" actually was 10 years as a Marden's employee. It was stated that his qualifications are "he's politically savvy". Or was it he kissed Lepage's butt for 10 years at Marden's? I won't even bring up the daughter thing,OOPS, I just did.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Oh, the old, I'm qualified

Oh, the old, I'm qualified but play.... figures.

 's picture

Nope, not from away

Except for my time serving my country, I've lived here my whole life. Went to college too. And while I don't have 35 years of big business experience, I have run places that made in excess of 35 million a year.
I really don't care about Savage, or LePage's daughter for that matter. All you seem to see is the salaries of the people in Augusta and the fact of the matter is, just like in Washington, even if you cut all of their salaries altogether and everyone worked for free, Maine would still be in a hole because of entitlement programs. The fact of the matter is that we give too much away without making anyone responsible for what they're getting.
Go to the website http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Maine_state_government_salary it's a non profit with no political agenda. Look at the figures, we are last in the country in government employee spending. Justify your statements...

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Better living through smaller

Better living through smaller government in all dimensions.


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