Why is Gov. LePage going after local control?
To the Editor:
Local governments are Maine’s most efficient, budget conscious and fiscally responsible spenders of taxpayers’ money.
That is because they are closest to the people they serve and the taxpayers who pony up the spending money. The governance structure of local towns is responsive, open and designed to involve everyone. Town meetings are time-honored traditions in Maine because they just make sense.
We pass our own budgets. We write our own ordinances. We work together as community members to solve our local problems. It keeps people engage and involved in the community because they know, when push comes to shove, they have a say in how their town runs.
Regardless of that fact, it seems that Governor LePage now wants to put a hammer on local control.
Just recently, he told the Bangor Daily News that he will take state revenue sharing away from municipalities that have “stricter regulations” then the state because he claims (but has not been able to provide any evidence or data to support his claim) it’s too confusing and complicated for businesses.
That’s absolutely out of line and I couldn’t disagree more. The Governor is threatening to strip funding away from local communities because they don’t agree with his agenda. Sounds eerily similar (I’m writing this on Halloween) to the elimination of same day voter registration to me.
Not only would this handcuff Maine people’s role in community decision making, it’s a slap in the face to hard working, middle-class Mainers who have every right to pass a new regulation in their towns if they think it’s necessary.
This type of shortsighted policy is the wrong approach to take if Governor LePage is truly committed to creating jobs and fixing the economy.
Surely, the Governor knows the state’s raiding of municipal revenue sharing to fill holes in the state budget is a time-honored tradition enjoyed by Maine state government. Recent cuts have and will continue to hurt local economies, infrastructure maintenance, and basic services to residents. In other words, cut jobs and limit employment opportunities.
With a lack of revenue more and more pot holes will booby trap Maine roadways costing tax payers and small businesses hundreds if not thousands of dollars on car repairs every year. More and more schools will have to cut important arts, sports, and music programs resulting in more teacher layoffs. Property taxes will sky rocket in order to make up for the lack of revenue.
Shifting state funding problems to local communities is just plain wrong and undermining the “home rule” of municipal government would make citizens powerless when it comes to making rules to govern the development of the community.
Already municipalities across the state are scraping by because of years and years of cuts. Now Governor LePage is threatening to make matters worse because he wants to be able to dictate to us how to run our towns. Please rethink this approach Governor LePage.
In Maine, it’s hard to find a Democrat or Republican who doesn’t understand the value of local control. Rather than threatening us and telling us how to take care of our communities, Governor LePage should focus on how to run state government instead.
Roy G Gedat,