It was disheartening to see Sen. Eric Brakey dismiss the need to protect public education and property taxpayers in his recent letter (Feb. 23).

I hope Brakey takes the education of our children more seriously than his piece indicates. Right now, $23 million for schools is at stake. It’s naïve to believe that classrooms can absorb that kind of cut without diminishing kids’ education.

I know that a good education was crucial to my children’s success. I want my grandchildren to benefit from a top-notch education as well.

Sen. Brakey also must recognize that property taxpayers in affected school districts will be forced to make up the difference if we do not fix the problem. That means higher property taxes for retirees and working families. That is not a strategy for strengthening the middle class.

As a former fire chief, I know from experience what else happens when the state shifts costs to local communities — services that benefit residents suffer. It’s not just the kids and their parents who want schools to be the best they can be, it’s also anyone who uses roads, checks out a book from the library or might ever need police or fire services.

The Democratic version of the tax conformity bill offers solutions. It fully mirrors the federal tax code and provides benefits to local businesses, homeowners, students and teachers.

It also goes further by protecting classrooms from cuts and by keeping more money in the pockets of property taxpayers.

Rep. Michel Lajoie, D-Lewiston

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