Nestle profits handsomely from Maine but simultaneously complains that Maine is a tough state for business (Sun Journal, July 16). It nets hundreds of millions of dollars while a financially strapped Maine slashes its budget and makes cuts in education, health care, social services and conservation.
Nestle is on a strong publicity campaign to avoid a grass roots movement that could make Maine a rich instead of a poor state. Maine is not profiting from its natural resource: water. Nestle is exploiting Maine.
Maine’s executive branch and Legislature have been heavily lobbied for many years by Nestle to block changing Maine’s groundwater laws and imposing an excise tax. For conservation reasons and best management, Maine's groundwaters should be in the public trust, but they are not. Nestle’s claim that a water tax would cost Maine jobs is highly unlikely. It cultivates “good will” through relatively minuscule contributions to local communities and nonprofit organizations to enhance its public image.
It would be informative to see an independent audit of the net profits that make any excise tax so “tough” for Nestle.
Maine's economic future lies in how it handles its water. With global warming, proper control of Maine’s water can make it one of the richest states in the country. Nestle’s clever public relations campaign must be countered by an informed and mobilized Maine public to make that happen.
Howard A. Corwin, Center Lovell