On the Right Lane: Pondering preposterous proposals

40

“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”
Will Rogers, author and humorist

The Maine Legislature has begun its new session, and I made the mistake of looking at some of the pieces of proposed legislation. To put it mildly, it’s scary to read some of them. At least there’s one we won’t be seeing, the bill to mandate winter or all-weather tires in Maine from October through April. I don’t know about you, but I am sure many Mainers don’t have money for such things, especially with 20 percent or more of them on MaineCare and other types of assistance. Thankfully, that was pulled from the list, and the legislator who proposed it stated it was just a publicity stunt. I would hate to tell who the joke is really on.

The next proposal is really scary because it involves significant increases in pay for the governor and legislators. The governor’s salary would increase to $120,000 from $70,000 and a legislator’s would increase to a total of $41,238.97 from $24,056.07. You know who is going to pay for it. Don’t you wish you could vote on your own salary increase of around 70 percent? There’s another proposal to increase the governor’s salary to $150,000. These people need to be closely watched, because they are ultimately spending our money.

There’s another piece of legislation taking a whole bunch of local control away from our municipal governments, and I consider that an interference in local control. I am sure most of us have heard about the problems and complaints that the cities of Portland and South Portland have faced with short-term rentals, especially in residential areas. This bill would not let municipalities prohibit or restrict short-term rentals. Sounds like a member of the Legislature has been influenced by a lobbyist or two. I won’t mention the companies involved, but those rentals are happening in Windham as well. I wonder if anyone in our local government even knows how many that exist here.

Another legislator has proposed increasing the pay for those who get selected for jury duty from $15 a day to $50 a day, which makes me wonder where that money will come from. It also increases the mileage reimbursement for jurors, but it doesn’t state exactly what that is, which is another thing that makes me wonder what the total cost of this will be. Of course, the sad part is that workers on jury duty still face a cut in pay unless their employer makes up the difference.

I don’t even want to delve into how our legislators end up deciding which bills are bogus and how they come to a conclusion on what bills remain. Unfortunately I do know how that happens in Windham, especially with moratoriums of many types. All I will say is I hope someday Windham will figure out how to effectively plan for its future.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham still believes Maine should put “Taxationland” on all of its license plates.