Dear Sun Spots: How much money does one cent of sales tax bring in to the state? Thanks. – No Name, Livermore.

Answer: Sun Spots spoke with Michael Allen, the director of economic research at Maine Revenue Services, who says the general sales tax is 5 percent and meals and lodging tax is 7 percent.

For fiscal year 2006, the current forecast is that the state will collect $980 million a year total in sales tax, or about $166 million per percentage point, i.e.: 1 percent sales tax brings in about $166 million and 2 percent about $398 million. About $140 million-$150 million of that is for meals and lodging, the remainder is the 5 percent tax. About 5.1 percent of the state tax revenues are transferred to the local government fund, and it in turn goes back to the municipalities here in Maine. The remaining 94.9 percent goes into the state’s general fund to fund such items as education for Maine’s K-12 students, Department of Health and Human Services and, yes, Allen’s annual salary and more.

Dear Sun Spots: I’m writing for some people who like to remember the ’30s. I still have a ticket for the first interscholastic girls basketball tournament held at Murray Hall, Livermore Falls, March 6, 7 and 9, 1931. Admission was $1.35. If anyone is interested in having this, they may please write to me at: Charlie Lapointe, 550 College Road, Apt. 206, Lewiston, ME 04240-2459. – Charlie LaPointe, Lewiston.

Dear Sun Spots: In the Dec. 27 column there was a question from Sue of Auburn regarding snow removal in former times.

In many cases throughout Maine and elsewhere, snow was not removed but simply packed down with heavy (usually oak) cylinders hauled by horses called snow rollers. These were in use throughout much of the 19th century and well into the 20th century in northern New England and other parts of the country. In Bethel’s case, for example, snow rollers were in vogue until the 1920s. At the 1926 town meeting, it was voted to begin plowing the roads. This decision was so controversial that the entire Board of Selectmen resigned since they did not agree with the vote of the town meeting. Several years ago, I interviewed one of those selectmen. He recalled that the board at that time was concerned with the idea that plowing roads would have an adverse effect upon the family, i.e.: that people would not be saying home “where they belonged” tending to their affairs.

The Bethel Historical Society has preserved the Sunday River snow roller used in Newry in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is displayed on the grounds of the society’s Dr. Moses Mason House. – Stanley R. Howe, executive director, Bethel Historical Society, Bethel.

Answer: Thanks to Mr. Howe for his insight. Readers may also be interested to know there is also a snow roller outside the Andover historical building, next to the town hall in the center of town. The roller was donated to the society by Stan and Sue Milton of Lakewood Camps.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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