Governor is raising taxes

I am a sixth-year teacher at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. My fiancee is a multiage, second- and third-grade teacher. We’re getting married this summer. We are excited to expand our family and add onto the house where we live.

We both freely chose our careers, and could both leave our careers, if we chose. That’s what makes the governor’s proposed budget difficult for us to accept or understand. It creates a disincentive for teachers to stay in the classroom.

In particular, the required 2 percent payroll tax would cost my fiancee and me, conservatively, $900 a year each for the rest of our careers. We will lose about $58,000 during the life of our careers simply because we are public employees. That’s an addition for our home, or maybe a few years’ tuition for a child to go to college in the future. But it will be gone.

Please understand, I don’t mind paying taxes. I tell students in my government class all the time, “If it weren’t for taxes, I wouldn’t have my teaching job.”

But, I think it's only fair that the governor be honest about the fact that he is raising taxes, and then ask everyone to sacrifice, not just those of us employed in the public sector.

Teachers are willing to pay their fair share. I just don’t think Gov. Paul LePage should balance the budget on the backs of teachers, who already give so much to their communities through their efforts in the classrooms.

Jarrod Dumas, Rumford

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 's picture

Well Mr. Dumas lets look at a

Well Mr. Dumas lets look at a real example. I looked at a retiree of RSU43 who retired in 1991 with 34 years of teaching. Her final ave. pay was $54,000/year and she had contributed into the state retirement system $44,500 (an ave. $1,310/year contribution) and has received already $758,760 since 1991 (which is almost $45,000/year) and is projected to receive another $758,760 if she lives as long as actuarial tables predict.
Those who have already retired at RSU #43 have paid in $4,538,076 to the retirement fund but expected payout is a whopping $79,767,265.
Use any compound interest formula and you will see that is a great payout. I retired as a manager from the old AT&T with 32 years and only get $22,000/year and no COLA.

RONALD RIML's picture

So you traded your tool-box for management, George??

Then you found out "White Collar" eat their young and those AT&T stock option weren't worth sh*t.......

That's how 'Capitalism' works. My brother-in-law took his 'Tool-Box' back and then early retirement. Said it was the best decision he ever made in his life.

 's picture

You tell your students ...

“If it weren’t for taxes, I wouldn’t have my teaching job.”

I wonder what students hear at Hebron Academy and Kents Hill.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Things are tough all over

Jarod you are not being taxed. You are investing in your future. Previous State Gov't leaders have misused your funds. The system is broken and you are being asked to repair it. The extra 2 percent will be returned to you many times over when you retire. I am a retired Teamster. Four times in thirty years when the economy was bad we had a choice. Take the money now and leave the pension fund as it was, or forego the raise and add the increase to our pension fund. Fortunatly we were looking beyond the next year or ten years. Those loses we suffered during the hard times are now being repaid many times over.
All state employees have to bite the bullet just as us non state employees have to.

 's picture

Mr. Dumas needs to look at an

Mr. Dumas needs to look at an honest comparison between the teachers retirement plan and those of the private sector. He also needs to be realistic about how easy it would be to get a private sector job that pays as well as does their teaching jobs do.
Why isn't it fair that the teachers pay as much as do private sector workers for retirement . The teachers only work a fraction of the time that private sector workers do. They should get less, they work less.

Jarrod Dumas's picture


Mr. Fogg:

Teachers already pay more than private sector workers do. While people receiving Social Security pay 6.2% of their salary toward Social Security, teachers currently pay 7.65% toward MePERS, and will be asked to pay 9.65% under the proposed bill.

RONALD RIML's picture

Sorry George - Those 'Teaching Jobs' just don't outsource

quite so easily to China and India.

Maine parents like to keep their children a little bit closer to home. But corporate America had no problem sending their parents' jobs way the hell overseas.

So how much education and accreditation did you need for your profes - er, job, George Fogg? A film-making 'Gaffer' or Geezer-Gaffer??

 's picture

Keep your voice loud Mr

Keep your voice loud Mr Dumas, it is only by exposing the greed that drives the administration that these situations and others affecting maines working and poor classes will be averted. The worst part is that the LePage budget is not smaller, in fact it is much, much larger than the last Baldacci budget. How does he manage to spend more money? Because he is assuming that our economy will continue to grow, and of course it will as long as the US economy continues it's recovery. The growth has nothing to do with LePage and his administration. The growth is already happening, has been since last year long before the stink of LePage fouled our air. So why not just take this growth, leave state budgets flat, and repair our deficit? Because LePage is repaying his campaign contributors by cutting taxes, both income and estate taxes, for the wealthies mainers, and for out of state corporations. Remember when LePage said he would work for the people of Maine??? Don't hold your breath.

Mark Elliott's picture

Talk about SPIN!! That 2%

Talk about SPIN!! That 2% Jarrod, is NOT a tax! You will be paying an additional 2% into your own retirement which you will get back when you retire. Maybe you should actually READ his budget before commenting on it??

Jarrod Dumas's picture


Mr. Elliot:

I will not receive an additional 2% in my retirement by contributing an additional 2% to the system. Have you read the bill? The formula for calculating the amount of money I receive at the end of my career does not change under this bill. I will receive as much at the end of my career under the LePage Plan as I will now, the only difference is that 2% of my salary is absorbed by the State. If it is not a tax, what would you call it when I'm asked to "contribute" 2% of my gross salary for no additional benefit, so that the State can remove 1.6% from the retirement system and move it to the General Fund? I receive literally nothing for my money. The only argument for taxing teachers 2% is the one that goes "the pension system is insolvent, and we need to do this to save it." This simply is not true. An honest accounting of the assets in MePERS are sufficient to continue to fund retirements without the additional 2% tax.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Great post, rdrluv...

Great post, rdrluv...

RONALD RIML's picture

So then you'de have no problem if the Govt.....

Assessed you a 7% healthcare fee and provided such a service? Then it wouldn't be a tax.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Healthcare is not a

Healthcare is not a retirement fund, last I heard.

RONALD RIML's picture

Neither is Social Security - yet it is mandated

So your point????


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