When Jerry Brown, California’s governor, lost his first battle with the legislature over raising taxes to pay for essential services, he stated that maybe people needed to create the kind of society they thought they wanted before the tide would turn away from the “starve the beast” mentality.

It looks to me like we’re on our way to having that society, unless people wake up to the fact that we do have to pay for essential services in a civilized society and that “taxes” is not a four-letter word.

Within the past week, the news has highlighted another bridge collapse in the state of Washington, budget cuts postponing Acadia’s opening and the negative effect on tourism in the area, restaurants in Maine being inspected every other year instead of much more frequent inspections in other states, austerity budgeting leading to children dying in schools without storm shelters in “tornado alley” Oklahoma, and an understaffed IRS stooping to new lows in response to a vastly increased workload.

Extreme cost-cutting not only diminishes the quality of our lives but poses real threats to our well-being.

Will we be reduced to holding “bake sales for bridges”?

We need government to be efficient and effective, but each of us, corporations included, has to pay our fair share for what we need as a civilized, functional society.

Stop the insanity before more kids die.

Maryann Larson, New Gloucester

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