At a time when more people are out of work and struggling, it seems our elected officials at both the School Committee and City Council have decided to double down with larger tax increases, more programs, and jobs that this city simply cannot afford.

As a past member of the City Council and past member and chair of the Finance Committee, I cringe when I see the budget details for the upcoming year. The current Finance Committee recommendations and concerns are correct; we cannot afford more spending and higher taxes when more and more people are seeking to live in Maine. The tax burden will quickly have them looking to other communities when we need those with good jobs and disposable income to settle here.

Our untaxed property is growing at over four times the rate of taxable property, with taxable property being replaced by those which contribute nothing to the tax needs yet require all the same city services. Our economic development is weak, and more coffee and sandwich shops will not be the answer.

Perhaps it is time for an economic development committee of people who understand the dynamics and can come up with solutions before it’s too late. But for now, I encourage a “no” vote on the school budget as a reminder that overspending is no longer tolerated.

Robert Reed, Lewiston

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