D. Cooper: Facing the budget crisis in Maine

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Let’s face the facts: The state Constitution requires that the state budget be balanced, yet the state faces cuts in money that it has previously received from the federal government that has been used to enhance various state benefits.

Gov. Paul LePage has published areas where budget cuts could be made with the least effect on the population of the state. I hear comments and statements from state officials and citizens saying how they envision the cuts will hurt their areas of interest. They don’t comment about how or where they would reduce the budget by $35 million.

The two areas of the state budget that get about 80 percent of the funds are the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education. The remainder of state services, including infrastructure, transportation, emergency services, etc., must be funded from the remaining 20 percent.

Towns could increase their income by reducing or eliminating the homestead exemption.

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Towns could reduce their school budgets by returning to the 3 Rs  (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic). Social programs and athletic programs could be greatly reduced.

Towns could increase their portion of the vehicle licensing fees.

Towns should be responsible for the programs and services the residents desire.

If I cannot live with the final actual budget, I can move out of the state.

I believe that the loss of taxes paid would be much greater than the reduced cost of the services I received.

Douglas Cooper, Norway

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