Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins is showing strong leadership on climate issues in Congress, co-sponsoring true bipartisan legislation with Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state.

Their Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act provides for significant reductions in carbon emissions while protecting businesses and consumers.

Corporate as well as public support for effective legislation is critical. In a decade of working with corporations like L.L. Bean, Oakhurst Dairy, Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, Hannaford Supermarkets and Poland Spring, Clean Air-Cool Planet has found that business leaders know the advantages of reducing energy use.

But the fear shared by businesses and consumers alike is that regulating emissions will unhinge prices. Sen. Collins’ bill addresses this in two important ways. First, it establishes a “price collar” (a floor and a ceiling) that limits the price volatility that would be bad for the economy and for individual businesses while offering businesses the certainty and predictability they need for investments in efficiency and alternative energy sources.

Second, the CLEAR Act rebates 75 percent of carbon revenues directly to consumers, a provision that the latest polling shows strong majorities of Democrats, independents and Republicans want Congress to endorse. In climate legislation, as elsewhere, the public demands fairness and transparency.

Finally, the Cantwell-Collins bill jump-starts a transition to a clean-energy economy that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and restore our technology leadership in the world. The genius of CLEAR is that it serves U.S. energy, economic and national security interests while protecting the environment and promoting a new clean-energy sector.

Lobbyists are at work predicting calamity — just as they did when Congress limited exposure to pollutants like sulfur dioxide and lead.

But Sen. Collins has chosen to put forward a bill that will benefit the people and the businesses of Maine, despite the political risks such leadership always faces.

Bob Sheppard

CFO, Clean Air-Cool Planet

Kittery

Tax reform plan makes services more expensive

“If promises were crowns, we would all be kings.” I’m a little old for fairy tales so I have a hard time believing that the champions of LD 1495, namely the Democratic Party, will offer any tax relief with the mighty promise of lowering the income tax from 8.5 percent.

In fact, after a little research through the Maine Heritage Policy Center (mainepolicy.org) and the Maine Department of Revenue I found out that the tax relief offered in this bill is indeed a fairy tale.

It does lower the top rate of the income tax by about 2 percent but the payoff for that reduction will systematically raise taxes for Maine citizens in more areas than can be explained in the space allotted here.

About 70 percent of dining out in Maine is not by tourists, but Maine citizens. This legislation increases the tax we will pay on that by 1.5 percent, making the cost of doing business higher for restaurant owners and increasing what we pay in the final bill.

Democrats also saw fit to tax telephone services — that’s up to a whopping 5 percent from zero. Another big concern is the charge my auto mechanic will have to tax me on repairs for my vehicle, another zero-to-5-percent increase.

The more I look into this “tax relief,” the more convinced I am that it is another government boondoggle that reaches deep into my pockets.

It is in my best interest to vote “yes” on Question 1 this June to repeal this tax hike, and more than likely it is in your best interest, too.

Michael Hall

Windham

Interior can help buy land to expand Acadia

Acadia National Park has brought joy and inspiration to generations of Maine families. Two million hikers, campers and adventurers visit the park each year to experience the natural beauty of the park.

Nearly 1,000 acres of land within the park is privately owned, and when that land goes up for sale the park does not posses the money to buy it. That leaves it at risk of being bought up by big developers and destroyed forever.

We have an amazing opportunity to protect this land through the Department of Interior’s new “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative to expand the nation’s parks.

The program has finite resources and decisions rely heavily on public support. All those interested in Acadia’s future should contact Secretary Ken Salazar at the Department of Interior and urge him to make Acadia National Park a priority.

Seth Dussault

Portland

Border security neglected by Obama’s administration

No ideological leanings to the left or right can obscure the plain truth: President Obama’s failure to address security issues on our southern border is a triumph of ideology and politics over common sense.

All presidents are mandated by the Constitution to ensure the safety of the populace, and to protect our territorial integrity. All along that border, and well beyond it, U.S. states are facing the consequences of this administration’s failure to shoulder that responsibility.

Absent an adequate federal presence, Arizona is attempting to rein in an out-of-control situation on its own — and being sneered at and defamed for doing so.

Things have come to a pretty pass when the states, at their own expense and peril, must step in to do the work of a recalcitrant national government. If the Obama administration keeps to its present course, we can expect to see other states follow Arizona’s lead. States, too, are mandated to protect their citizens and insure the integrity of their borders.

It is past time for the sitting government at Washington, D.C., to realize that its ideological agendas are as nothing compared to its constitutional responsibilities. It is our government, after all, and not the preserve of a certain constituency.

High time it set about governing, and left off its scheming and posturing. No better place to begin than at our southern boundary.

Henry Smith

Sorrento

Waterville’s Mayor LePage best choice for governor

Mayor Paul LePage’s excellent business experience and common-sense approach to complex issues has awarded Waterville with fiscal sanity. Prior to Mayor LePage, city spending was out of control and our property taxes were increasing at alarming rates with no end in sight.

After first being elected, LePage cut the wasteful spending. As a result of his ability to make the tough decisions, our property taxes are about 17 percent lower than they were prior to his election six years ago; all while he was maintaining essential city services.

Our roads are getting paved, Waterville’s school system is among the finest in the state, and we still have rubbish removal without additional fees. How many gubernatorial candidates can run on a record like LePage’s? None!

Unlike the other candidates, Mayor LePage has repeatedly balanced a budget and has never been afraid to use his veto pen when necessary.

If he is elected governor, I can assure you that Mayor LePage will bring the same fiscal leadership to the state of Maine that he has brought to Waterville.

Mayor LePage will re-open Maine for business, which will allow Mainers to finally get the higher paying jobs without being forced to leave our beautiful state.

I encourage you to check out Paul’s website (www.lepage2010.com) and support Paul LePage for governor in the June 8 primary.

Gary Maheux

Waterville