As I Realtor in Maine for 19 years, I am well aware of the power of home ownership. It is central to the American Dream and has historically been a vehicle for wealth building.

In addition, there is a sense of place in ownership. In creating a home.

Although I enthusiastically support home ownership, I am dismayed at the recent passing of LD 1978 by the Democrat Legislature. This bill provides “forgiveness of up to $40,000 in student debt” for those seeking to buy a home in Maine. The projected cost is $10 million to Maine taxpayers. It is so wrong on several counts.

First, it sends an unrealistic and dangerous message: when you buy something, you’re not bound to honor that debt. It is an attack on self-responsibility. It fosters an unhealthy dependence on government.

Secondly, this bill insults those who made the decision to attend college and have acknowledged their duty to pay for it. Some have already paid. Others have chosen a path of foregoing a college education, thus avoiding excessive debt. Do they deserve “forgiveness,” too?

Third, it is not getting to the root of the problem. Yes, affordability is an issue in the current inflated housing market. But the solution is better jobs to keep our young people in the state. Maine needs to be made business friendly.

I ask the Legislature to streamline laws that make it advantageous for businesses to locate here. There is no better giving than to offer a job — not a handout.

Kathleen Szostek, Dixfield

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