Once again, many thanks are due to the Press Herald and particularly to Colin Woodard for the excellent article on Republican interests in undermining the tax structure of the state of Maine (“Washington County residents have mixed reactions to plan to eliminate taxes,” Dec. 5).

The FreeME plan, if proposed and enacted, would free Washington County, the state’s poorest county, from having to pay income and sales taxes. The deficits incurred would be met by unspecified budget cuts, with the resulting pain being shared statewide.

While this is billed as an economic development tool, the actual goal seems to be “getting the camel’s nose under the tent” in a much bigger scheme to decrease taxes and shrink government. This goal originates from distant and shadowy right-wing groups that fund conservative efforts in many states while keeping their identities, intentions and funding sources secret.

Other policies they propose were referenced in Greg Kesich’s excellent column in which he detailed Maine Republicans’ emulation of Southern states (“LePage and Republicans want Maine to whistle ‘Dixie,’ ” Oct. 23).

The American Legislative Exchange Council is one such group that offers “model legislation” that is then proposed in state Legislatures by willing dupes who act as their conduits. The people of Maine deserve to know when their elected representatives are working on their behalf, and when they are instead serving the interests of unknown outside entities.

An active and energetic free press is our best assurance of having the knowledge we need to choose legislators who can be trusted to act on our behalf and in our best interest.

Ann Morrill

South Portland