Happy New Year, maybe

52

“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

Yogi Berra, professional baseball catcher, manager and coach

It’s going to be interesting to see what 2018 will bring to us from the local, state and federal levels of government.

I might as well start at the federal level, because if anything happens besides chaos and political bickering I would be immensely surprised. Of course, what is really funny is that at the end of all of the ongoing investigations and the increasing number of Congress members being implicated in sexual harassment there might not be anyone left in Congress. And for me that’s not a bad thing at all. All I see happening is the investigators possibly being investigated themselves, which is really ironic when one looks at it. I won’t even dare to make a guess at anything except why Sen. Susan Collins isn’t running for governor in Maine.

In Augusta, which I personally nicknamed Disgusta, I understand that this new session of the Legislature is about emergency legislation. I agree with other columnists who wonder what Augusta’s definition of “emergency” is because most of the proposed legislation I have looked at could only be an emergency for the one(s) proposing such things. Best I can guess right now, even if legislators pass something it’ll be because spending money is involved. Maybe things would work out better if all the legislators smoke some marijuana before working out something on retail marijuana that the governor would sign. Hey, maybe he should, too! I have smelled far too many people that reek of weed, and if that many Mainers are on medical weed, this state is in deep trouble already.

Now that Congress has passed the so-called Tax Reform and Corporate Relief Act (that’s my title), I presume that the state of Maine has to do something with making Maine’s tax laws compatible. Heck, I will make that easy: If it moves, tax it. If it doesn’t move, paint it and then tax it. What I am waiting for is a real interpretation of what that law really does to us. I know the government well enough that somehow we won’t get what we expect – just like our supposed cost of living increase in Social Security.

I find it interesting that Maine’s Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap wants legislation to prevent people from collecting signatures for petitions from the polling areas. In some ways I agree, although I really have never seen a problem with that being legal. Keeping the candidates away from the polls is an entirely different matter to me. I think the town of Windham has, at least since my wife and I have lived here, done a fantastic job with all elections. The only time otherwise was just a short time ago that if one wanted to vote on Election Day, one had to walk quite a distance within the high school. I usually vote by absentee ballot at the town hall as it is always quick and convenient.

If it’s constitutional, which I doubt, I say remove the out-of-state money that pours into the state and influences Maine voters. On top of that, I also say if those petitions, if passed, gives something to someone from out of state, make that illegal, too. I look at it this way: The Constitution gives us the right to petition our government. If a Mainer wants to petition for something within Maine, that fine. Our government in Maine does not belong to someone from another state as far as I can gather.

In Windham I am once again hearing the terms tax increment financing and contract zone, both of which I find really offensive as a taxpayer. As far as I am concerned, one sucks money out of our wallets and the other is a government cover-up for spot zoning, which I believe is illegal.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham is waiting to see what he might have to cut next.