On the Right Lane: Pennies from heaven


“Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth.” Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

I was starting to worry that I had nothing to write about this week and behold, someone at almost every level of government in our country dreamed up something involving our hard-earned money. It’s not like we are worry-free trying to hang on to our money when a town like Windham overtaxes us while having a huge surplus stashed away collecting dust and hopefully interest as well. What’s really sad is that politicians who believe in the so-called trickle-down effect probably are correct but it doesn’t quite work like they say it does. Washington cuts funds sent to the states and the states send less to municipalities. I would discuss county government as well, but I believe that county government is a waste of taxpayer dollars and consequently should be done away with.

I have often heard of the term from cradle to the grave when it comes to government taking care of us instead of us taking care of ourselves as it used to be. I fear that some people have figured out that it is easier to spend government money instead of their own. There is now a piece of proposed legislation in Augusta that would shift special education for children ages 3 to 5 to local school departments instead of the state. It sounds like a miracle would happen but what scares me here is the fact that the state has allocated a $30 million dollar budget for Maine Department of Education Child Development Services and that office constantly runs over budget.

Then there are the excuses that schools have many more resources (sounds like taxpayers who own property to me) and therefore could meet the demands of special education students. One of the resources that the state complains about is not having enough providers to handle the demand of those students. If the state can’t find enough providers I wonder how it expects the local school district to do it. Of course what is even more important is funding and someone in the state proclaimed it would fully fund the cost of special education. Well now, all of us by now know that the state promised to fund 55 percent of the cost of local education and all that seems to happen is they figure out how to spend less instead. That’s a huge warning signal as to what could happen and local taxpayers get whacked again.

One can also look at Maine’s revenue sharing which has become unreliable instead of a sure thing or at least that’s what the Town of Windham government would want us to think. Windham doesn’t rely on it for the municipal budget and yet at some point, it gets some revenue sharing funds. All I can figure out is that it goes into the surplus balance which, by the way, is way out of balance which I have stated in the past because the balance is too high. I should think that the state funding for roads and bridges would be a huge part of the Maine Department of Transportation budget and yet every year the state legislature proposes bond issues for that. Please remember bonds are above and beyond the state budget so the state actually gets to spend more money with the excuse the voters approved it. Pretty smart, aren’t they? 

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is pondering should those in Maine who pay for electricity help pay for that ever on-going offshore wind turbine project. It could add as much as 73 cents a month which leads me to a couple of questions that have never been answered. Shouldn’t a company be responsible for its’ own costs? I also wonder if, in the end, electricity produced by that project would end up being more expensive. The governor and members of the legislature continuously harp about Maine’s high electricity rates. Will they ever do something about it because it’s high time that they do.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham wonders why we have a sports tax on cable or satellite bills.