B. Bickford: Sharing the sacrifice

I am writing in response to the letter from Marilyn Burgess of Leeds (Jan. 13).

First, I must thank Ms. Burgess for taking the time to share her concerns in a public forum. She is right — it is vitally important that when government makes cuts to services, those in government share in the sacrifice.

That is why we in the Legislature cut $7.58 million, or about 12.7 percent, of the total budget for the legislative branch of government, when crafting the two-year state budget last spring

Those cuts included a pay freeze (saving $800,000), pension changes (saving $1.9 million), health insurance cuts (saving more than $1.8 million), $159,880 in savings from suspending legislators’ cost of living increases, and $65,408 in savings from reducing out-of-state travel by 30 percent.

Government has been living beyond its means for far too long. As legislators, we must lead by example by cutting our own budgets before cutting services to others. What we did in the last biennial budget is a start. I hope that we continue that trend when we write a new budget next year.

Rep. Bruce Bickford, R-Auburn

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CRYSTAL WARD's picture

earnings stolen????

Mike , retired public employees are required to pay 6-7+% of every paycheck into the retirement fund --we pay in for 25-40+ years . A lot of the money we receive is not out of your check it is from the retirees years of putting money in . Do you pay into social security? Having also worked in the private section I have had to pay SS but will not be able to collect 2/3 of it because it is taken away by the Fed. gov't. I pay State and Federal income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes just like you -- I am not stealing from you

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

"sharing the Sacrifice" WHAT?!

As a member of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System --We have been forced to "sacrifice" much higher than anyone else. Our COLA's frozen for 5 year (this is year 3) , our future COLA's capped , and our health insurance payments reduced by the State just at the time premiums went up. Retired people have had the government take $1000's! We have been "taxed" under the idea of "Shared Sacrifice" more than any other Mainer. A tax is when any level of government takes your money and uses it for a government purpose. Beware of taxes wrapped in “sacrifices”.
The cuts to the 70,000+ retired public employee's makes up over half of the Shared cuts, this is a very strange kind of “sharing”. While people making $800-900 month in the retirement system saw their checks go down this year the people making $500,000 + saw no decrease in their checks (where is their “Shared Sacrifice”?) If everyone did really “Share the Sacrifice” things would be much better. I do not see this happening

 's picture

My heart bleeds for you, Crystal.

I work for myself. I don't get a COLA; not in the past; not now; not in the future. I don't get health insurance from an employer, the state, or the tooth-fairy. The ultimate sacrifice, at the point of the government's gun, is having my earnings stolen from me to pay for benefits for people who "deserve" them.

Jim Cyr's picture

Sharing the sacrifice ??

How about meeting for just a few weeks ever other year ? Works very well in Texas and they are hiring and expanding their tax rolls at the same time. And to think they only meet every other year and only for a few weeks and at a substantially less pay for their devoted service to their constituents.

 's picture

We're not talking about the US Senate, Danny.

Democrats had the majority in both houses of the Maine legislature. If they couldn't get a tax hike passed, it's because Democrats thwarted it. And, please, the Maine Republican party isn't in the same league as Democrats when it comes to outside money to buy votes.

The wealthy in Maine (anyone making more than $20k per year) have been pulling the wagon for decades while you and your klan complain the ride isn't fast enough. Same for the nation. The wealthy pay most of the federal income taxes now, with just under 50% of tax payers paying nothing. They have no skin in the game, as our illustrious president is known to say, when it's personally convenient. There's the shame.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Whisky, Tango,Foxtrot", sang

"Whisky, Tango,Foxtrot", sang the parrot.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Patti , 6 pm Thursday HST

Patti , 6 pm Thursday HST • 
. .Respect with dignity ? 
In fact, courtesy is contagious . . ..
† y v m • /s, Steve

 's picture

Respectful to whom?

There's only one word in my post that you can be referring to. It's the same word Breton has included in every post for the past week, although he hasn't been brave enough to spell it with a K.

I have no respect at all for Dan Breton. Why should I use obfuscating language that suggests otherwise?


Why because you claim to be

Why because you claim to be better than the rest of us and are really showing how angry you are at the world. Maybe to get respect you need to give respect. I never see any respect from you towards anyone with a differing opinion. And we do live in the United States and each of us has the right to our own opinion whether others agree with us or not. And questioning an admonishment from the Sun/Journal is very disrespectful. And before you say it....they have admonished Dan a number of times as well.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I often agree with your

I often agree with your posts, Tina, because you often make good sense, but in this instance you have completely mischaracterized Mr. Leblanc.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Tina , 12.01.19 18:00 ? Here

Tina , 12.01.19 18:00 ?
Here in the islands we have an expression , " In order to receive Alo'ha one must give Alo'ha ."
" Makes sense , huh ? a hu'i ho , /s, Steve , not necessarily an endorsement --> http://hawaiiannames.hisurf.com/

 's picture

The Grand Kleagle of the on-line LSJ has spoken.

If Breton knew anything about the ME income tax structure, he would understand that it is basically "flat", with the highest rate kicking in at about $20,000 per year for a single person. And it has been that way for decades, meaning it started back in the bad-old-days when Democrats controlled everything. When campaigning, Dems love to bleat about making the "rich" pay their "fair share", but when they get to Augusta they just re-cork their thumbs and it's business as usual.

Democrats refused over and over again to raise taxes enough to cover their profligate spending and, as usual, shoved responsibility off to our children and grandchildren. In 2010 the voters came to their senses.

The only "clan" (sic) Breton speaks for are the riders in the envy wagon.

 's picture

What the standard.

Republicans & Tea Partiers love to talk about Democrats' "profligate" or out-of-control or unsustainable or some similar word spending. What they don't ever say is what their standard is. Is 1% of GDP toooo much or 20%, or 50%. They don't say because their standard is "any thing the Democrats propose is too much. Dr. Paul suggest said that a tax rate of 0% is just right. Democrats spend money in the interests of the people of the United States and in our case Maine. They do so to comport with their responsibilities under the US and Maine Constitutions. Republicans accept no such responsibilities. They are not personally responsibile in their minds for anything except themselves.

 's picture

What liberals never define ...

... is the meaning of "rich" or "fair share", so their blathering about responsibilities is just mud-slinging at a moving target. Which is convenient to them, because that's what the Constitution is to them: a moving target.

 's picture

Conservatives use the word "Constitution"

like a Buddist chant because it has no meaning for them. Conservatives merely substitute their personal views for the Constitution. Lends authority to their magical world view. The Constitution does not contain "Capitalism, "free markets", "private property" or a whole host of economic concepts that Conservatives maintain are "constitutional", but weren't invented until 1920. They can be driven to absurdities like "Corporations are people with the civil rights of people". Chief Justice Marshall exploded that absurdity more than 200 years ago. For capitalism to be Constitutional the Constitution must be a moving target for Conservatives.
Only a conservative can blieve that their is no common agreement on what rich and fair share mean.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Let us not forget that it is

Let us not forget that it is Capitalism that made America great; not communism.

 's picture

Typical right-wing meaningless observation

Capitalism did not make America great. In fact, it failed and failed miserably. Let us not forget 1929-1939. The US was the world's dominate power in 1914. Huge foreign immigration, the lack of infrastructure destruction (no continential wars while we were industrializing 1865-1914), huge natural resources made America great. We don't know if we would have been greater, more peaceful, more secure, more united under some other system because we didn't try anything else. We do know that unfetterred capitalism utterly failed in 1929-1939 and only regulated markets restored us to properity and WWII restored us to world domination

 's picture

Unregulated Capitalism

Unregulated capitalism does not take into consideration national goals, ambitions, values. As such it destroys countries as it seeks lower costs. Look at England - a capitalist country that fell to a third world country after WWII.

 's picture

So say it out loud.

Only a conservative can blieve that their is no common agreement on what rich and fair share mean.

What is that common agreement? Go ahead, say it. Or does the SDS playbook tell you to shuck and jive at this point?

 's picture

Hey Danny boy Breton

you still haven't answered LeBlanc's question. The only thing you people keep harping on are the tax cuts we gave to our rich buddies. What were those tax cuts. Show us where and when there were bills introduced by LePage or anyone, that included tax cuts for the so called rich of this State. And please define who you claim to be the rich. Would you like to swap payroll taxes on the state and federal level with me.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

In this state $50 grand

In this state $50 grand qualifies as being rich, but $40 grand qualifies you for just about every imaginable giveaway program except for maybe free diapers for the chronic whiners and bed wetters.

 's picture

Your the bully

with your false accusations every time you post on here, like now cause your being called out.

 's picture

Really Danny boy

Really.. maybe we should copy and past from your past performances.


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