It was good to learn from your recent editorial (“Federal early childhood grant is a ‘race’ worth winning,” Aug. 21) that Maine is again competing for federal Race to the Top funding to strengthen our early education programming and to help create a seamless statewide system for Maine’s youngest children.

As a business leader, I also must stress that quality early learning programs are good for our economy. In fact, research confirms that children participating in high-quality early learning programs are significantly more likely to enter school with the underlying skills they need to complete high school on time, go on to college and later succeed in the work force.

According to one long-term study in Michigan, children enrolled in a high-quality early education program were 44 percent more likely to graduate from high school than similar children who did not participate.

They also had a 36 percent increase in earnings as adults, increasing their spending power and contribution to the tax base.

A separate 25-year follow-up study of quality early learning programs in Chicago recently found that these programs returned over $10 in savings for every $1 invested.

I am pleased our state is making such programs a higher priority and that our new commissioner of education, Steve Bowen, is willing to fight for increased federal funding to increase quality and availability across Maine.

When it comes to educating our kids, the best approach is to begin much sooner and to do it better. The Race to the Top early learning funds will help Maine do that.

Peter Cianchette

South Portland 

Cuts in LIHEAP fuel aid just what tea party wants 

I can’t help but feel a little smug after reading about Gov. LePage’s request to Maine’s congressional delegation that they fight to keep federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay for heating oil.

Last year, $58 million was spent to help 63,000 Mainers heat their homes. This coming season, Maine is slated to lose $30 million in federal aid for this program, which may leave many out in the cold.

What I do not understand is why Gov. LePage or his supporters, who I assume include many of those who received help, would have a problem with these and other cuts.

Isn’t that what he and his tea party colleagues in Congress promised? Isn’t cutting such programs what the recent debt ceiling debate was all about? This is just a preview of what we will see in the not-too-distant future. According to the state of Maine’s web site, we received $1.3 billion through the stimulus program that the tea partiers so often rail against. Most of it went to education, work force assistance and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

Every Mainer benefited directly or indirectly from the stimulus program. If Gov. LePage’s tea party friends get their way, and it appears they have, this funding will simply disappear, leaving the state and, more likely, local governments having to make up for the loss.

We will see widespread cuts and/or local tax hikes. Everyone seems to like cuts, as long as it’s someone else getting cut. For the LePage supporters who have benefited from the $1.3 billion but will see cuts and/or local tax increases as a result of losing this aid, I can only repeat what my mother used to tell me: Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

Bob Rothbart

Portland 

Funny how we bailed out the big banks so they can take the money and invest in oil futures: In the first quarter, the bottom fell out of the commodities market, except for oil, where they made billions to help them pay back bailout funds.

I read that right here in the Press Herald — they make barrels of oil more expensive by uncontrolled speculation. They are paying us back with our own money, making it harder for the poor to survive.

And now the government is taking a large portion of help away from us for heat this winter. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, so we need to search out the senators and congressmen who have oil stocks and futures and get them out of office. They should make no rules governing energy.

George Dunlap

Gray 

Tukey’s Bridge ‘finished’? Not if you drive over it 

So, am I supposed to think that the repair work on Tukey’s Bridge is finished? Are you kidding me? Have you ridden over that washboard at 55 mph?

Is this the best that the Maine Department of Transportation can do after an entire summer of work?

It’s a disaster and dangerous. It’s unacceptable.

Benson Dana

Cape Elizabeth 

Study very wrong about good status of Maine roads 

I read with interest in the Press Herald that Maine ranked higher than New Hampshire in a study of rural road conditions. It seems amazing to western York County travelers that this could be possible.

If one begins to head west on Route 25 from Cornish to Ossipee, N.H., downtown Kezar Falls will welcome you with potholes that shake your vehicle. Continue on westward over the bumps and ruts until you reach Freedom, N.H., where suddenly your car stops shuddering, bouncing and swerving and the road is smooth, wide and risk-free.

Perhaps this explains why I had to have shocks replaced after only 82,000 miles. The study investigators surely never drove on Route 160 toward Limerick, for if they had, the results perhaps would have been different. I suggest they get off Interstate 95 and give their lives a bounce.

Joseph Davock

Parsonsfield  

Obama doesn’t care about effects of smog 

What a coincidence! I got ill from a vigorous workout on a “moderate” ozone warning day, two days after the president told the EPA to cancel its new smog regulations, which would help clean our air and provide jobs to retool polluting industry.

It’s a sure thing the president doesn’t care about my health, or that of our many Maine children with air pollution-related asthma.

Who does he care about?

Charles Sexton

Poland