LD 1074, “An Act To Establish a Tax on Water Extracted for Bottling in Order To Secure the Economic Future of Rural Maine” is one of the most important pieces of legislation to be considered this year. It is only about bottled water, not any other uses of water. It would provide access to education and economic and community development.

For years, lawmakers have been looking for ways to raise revenues to expand broadband, attract business and to support Maine residents with the cost of post-secondary education.

Supporting the expansion of high speed broadband would allow businesses to flourish and expand throughout the state. It would level the playing field between communities that now have high speed broadband and those that don’t — helping businesses and students.

The legislation would afford all Maine residents with funding for up to two years of tuition at vocational/technical schools or colleges. What better incentive could Maine offer to its disappearing youth to remain in the state with a marketable skill?

Most of the revenues generated by the proposed legislation would be borne by consumers outside of Maine where this state’s natural resource is now being shipped.

The legislation would remove educational roadblocks, create jobs and would be dedicated to helping Maine residents with a hand up, not a hand out — all without reaching into the Maine taxpayers’ pockets.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity should not be allowed slip through our hands.

I encourage legislators to support LD 1074.

Sidney Pew, East Andover

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