This is yet another story that divides cleanly on party lines. I'm not a fan of the governor. But there some unanswered questions in this story. The governor didn't ask them to attend, he demanded it. Not necessarily a good start. In addition, the commissioner he appointed was there as well as the one board member he appointed. What I haven't heard was what about the other members of the board that he didn't appoint. Were they invited and chose not to attend? If so, shame on them. If they were not invited, which it appears might be the case, why? If they weren't it would appear to me to be a clear attempt by the governor to influence the hearing officers and bully them. Can anyone tell me if they were - or were not - asked to attend this meeting?
One needs to keep in mind that a large portion of BETR funds go to out of state corporations! If your business leases equipment from an out of state firm that firm gets the check. Yet they don't have more than one or two employees in the state. Our businesses lease equipment from companies like GE, and because GE has new equipment in the state they qualify for BETR. Can you explain how this works for us? Personally, if we eliminated any reimbursements to out of state corporations and made sure all communities assessed personal property taxes on businesses I would support it.
The whole reason we have a state pension plan is because we couldn't afford to pay, as an employer, the matching funds for social security! Last year the governor was trying to shift more responsibility to the teachers and state employees and reduce the amount the state pays in. The state already pays in less than they would have to under SS. So where is the money going to come from for this?
I have known Ms. Quint through her work at the Mitchell Institute for several years, and believe she will be an excellent addition to the Maine Senate. Her commitment to the state is something we need more of in Augusta. But in a sense, I have a much stronger connection to her and her family.
Her father was my English teacher my senior year of high school. Then I hated his class. He actually made me work! It didn't take me too long when I started college to realize what he did for me. His commitment to education and to his students was incredible. When we started the legislative session last year Senator Langley started by asking all of the members of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee about our favorite teacher. Yes, mine was Mr. Quint.
I urge voters in Senate District 17 to support her. She has the same sense of commitment and values that her Dad did. She will make a fantastic senator for your district!
Could someone please explain to me why forestry plans that result in a tax break are considered confidential? If you are applying for a program to get a break on your property taxes shouldn't that be an open record for the other taxpayers in that community? Another question is why no one is required to check the deed to see if the property has any restrictions on it? If you have an appraisal done on a property they look for deed restrictions to see if there is any impact upon the value of the property - so why not do the same for tax breaks? Plain and simple, he found a way to evade the taxes that should have been paid. I use the word evade because he knew he wasn't eligible. Unless he wants to claim he didn't, which raises questions about his honesty and his qualifications to the the state treasurer.
The citizen's of Georgetown should consider suing Mr. Poloquin for the taxes he should have been paying all along!
Should we try to eliminate welfare fraud? Of course we should! But lets not stop at the street level. We also need to prosecute welfare fraud at other levels. More money is lost to fraud by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and others in the system than anywhere else. The speaker of the house, Speaker Nutting, defrauded the state of over a million dollars.
I believe the funding from the state is actually from a dedicated portion of the real estate transfer tax that is collected on the sale of real estate in the state. This has been in effect for many years, gong back at least into the 80's. The funding is not part of the states general fund budget.
Mr. Poloquin seems determined to make an issue out over anything he can. However, if one looks behind his talk one finds he is in misleading the public. He loves to criticize and tries to grab the spotlight whenever he can. But, while he talks about the state's responsibility on various bonds, he does so by focusing on the liabilities, and not on the assets. Anyone with business knowledge will tell you that you look at both assets and liabilities. If you never include the other side of the balance sheet you are either intentionally misleading, or you are incompetent! For example, the Maine Turnpike Authority has a lot of bonds out there. Technically the bonds are a potential liability of the state, but they are revenue bonds that are repaid by the toll revenues of the Authority. In the case of MSHA he has once again tried to grab the headlines (and succeeded) but he once again misleads us. His boss needs to get him back to doing his job instead of trying to develop a political platform he can run on in the future.
Reading this article made me laugh. Once again we learn about all of the bind debt that the state is responsible. This is one of Mr. Poliquin's favorite drums to beat on. But once again is is only one side of the issue. Where is the offset to the debt? On a company's balance sheet you would show the debt (bonds in this case) as a liability and you would show the assets to balance it out. Once again, no comment on that here, so we are looking at incomplete information. What is the offset? The portfolio of mortgages help by MSMA and funded through those bonds. Maine State Housing has been one of the best run state housing authorities in the country for many years and has had a huge impact on this state. How many people has MSHA helped over the years? How many people own a home because of them? How many people have adequate housing? When we look at the complete picture instead of Poliquin's glass half empty view point we get a very different, and more accurate, view!
The Heritage Policy Center is great at coming up with issues they want to rave about, just to stir up people to advance their agenda. Yes, payroll has gone up in the system. Yes, tuition has gone up. Yes, it is an increased burden on students. Yes, there are more people making over $100,000 in the system than there used to be! So?
Recruiting and retaining talented instructors isn't easy. Why? Consider the increasing movement of people out of rural Maine to find better jobs in Southern Maine or out of state. They move for more income, better opportunities, a more diverse community with greater choices in things to do and see. If we want to compare salaries between the average Mainer are we comparing them to their peers? No! We cannot compare salary growth for those without a college degree to those with a doctorate! Perhaps the Maine Heritage Policy Center should do some more work and look at the competitive marketplace for people with advanced degrees. What kind of a comparison to other state university systems have they done? None! Why? I suspect it is because they might find we are far from the outrageous exception they try to portray!