Let’s try a new approach to mitigate the negative affects of dysfunctional government.

For several years, United States citizens have called for constitutional amendments to right the wrongs that are clearly present within the federal government (big government, congressional perks, lobbyist influence, term limits, wasteful spending, tax reform, budget crises, etc.).

The “devil may care” arrogance and ineffective governance has filtered down into state and municipal governments across the country.

It seems that federal, state and municipal governments have come to believe that “we the people” is all about themselves. Government officials have structured the system to guarantee that the taxpayers feel the pressure to abide by their strict rules of engagement through tax laws and enforcement.

Wait a minute! Where would the government masters be without their faithful taxpayer subordinates?

Let’s rally around the flag and support of the U.S. and Maine state Constitutions to take a stand. We need to emphasize the fact that we, not they, provide the lifeblood of our national, state and municipal economic freedom.

Taxpayers within each Maine municipality should create a bipartisan “Save Maine Committee” to focus attention to critical municipal goals and activities. For example: budget creation and execution, tax reform, service level costs and effectiveness, economic development, education, recreation, youth activities, sustaining businesses, energy costs, etc.

Each committee endeavor must operate independently from any government function, but in close association with government to ensure dissemination of factual, transparent goals and results.

The creation and successes of local “Save Maine Committees” would push upward emphasis for state government action on critical concerns.

If Maine government officials (executive and legislative branches) commit to a business management modus operandi, they should begin to push upward the necessary emphasis for federal government corrective actions.

Clearly, U.S. municipalities and their respective taxpayers pay the way for each government service agency or organization. We need to show the path for a new journey to reduce or eliminate wasteful spending in all levels of government — municipal, state and federal.

In Maine, the taxpayers fund each level of government with multitude  taxes and fees. It seems that people have become slaves to government demands for more and more money. Let’s set a new set of expectations within each municipality and let the local, state and federal governments know that we have needs.

The public’s expectations must be set with a better understanding of how much money is needed to provide essential services and an understanding that money will be spent wisely.

In Rumford, we have come to understand that voters, not the local government, have the responsibility and legal standing for good ideas, and veto power for bad ideas. We have begun the process of meaningful change with the introduction of the Save Rumford Committee.

We will make every effort to defeat the Rumford municipal budget for the bloated service departments. Logic and common sense is on our side as we begin the last few weeks to influence voters.

Hopefully, we will convince voters that a revised budget is a win-win solution related to essential service improvement and reduced cost.

Our plan is to manage the Save Rumford Committee as a permanent citizen activity to assure voter confidence in our efforts and ensure ongoing common sense municipal management.

During 2009, when the town officials faced a revenue shortfall, they had a choice to reduce spending or raise property taxes by 24 percent. They chose the tax increase.

Rumford is currently experiencing a local emergency situation with the fear of a paper mill production downturn. Without a common-sense approach to cost reduction, the taxes will rise beyond belief, leaving many taxpayers with tax liens and loss of their properties.

Our part in saving Maine begins with the Save Rumford Committee to influence the voters to reject the bloated budget. Fear tactics should be viewed as just that. Common sense should prevail.

Len Greaney is a member of the Save Rumford Committee and a former Rumford town manager.


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