Here are some state spending habits I am concerned about:
• The Department of Health and Human Services’ new computer system does not work. This system has cost taxpayers $60 million instead of the original estimate of $16 million. The governor’s budget has plans to throw it all away and start over. $60 million wasted. Shameful.
• Before the November 2006 election, the governor and Maine Hospital Association made an agreement on paying $551 million in Medicaid debt owed to Maine hospitals. A full 20 percent of Maine’s population, 270,000 persons, are supported by this state social medicine program with taxpayer dollars. The hospitals have been operating with a promise of payment from the governor. Shameful.
• The state Bureau of Insurance recently approved a 16.7 percent rate hike for the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plan for Maine. In 2004, compensation for the presidents of major Maine hospitals was $525,000 to $985,000 each. Imagine what those hospitals must pay the junior executives and managers. Someone needs to investigate.
• The Taxpayer Bill of Rights got 46 percent of the vote in 2006. The head of the Maine Education Association has said “If we face another TABOR in 2008, we can’t defeat it.” The voters have been heard. Will the legislature and governor listen?
If we do not stop the shameful spending, there will be another TABOR vote in the future.
Roger Knowlton, Poland