Our state needs a balanced approach to solving its current revenue shortfall. For several years now, the public has relied on stretching state government programs — to the breaking point — to meet the budget, without fully considering other solutions. The current budget proposal is no exception.
This latest slate of spending cuts will directly impact the populations least able to handle them. Programs for home care for the disabled, mental health for children, and drug care for the elderly will be among programs hit the hardest.
For the last six years, the state has whittled down the spending side of the budget equation. It’s now time to balance the equation by increasing revenue. Those who fear that raising taxes would prolong the state’s economic downturn should know that reports have found it to be much more effective than weakening public infrastructures.
The truth is, the state can’t afford to allow the continued erosion of the public sector. We can’t afford to have an unhealthy workforce. We can’t afford to pass costs from the state to towns. We can’t afford to let preventable issues overflow to emergency rooms and prisons.
The state must and can afford to invest in the education of the children. We can afford to give people the health care they need when they need it. We can afford to position ourselves for prosperity that all Mainers can share.
Theresa Pelletier, Lewiston

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