As a Portland taxpayer, it bothers me to see our city’s leaders respond with excuses to news of our outlier-status General Assistance welfare spending. To me, no amount of excuses can justify the fact that we spend more than 10 times what Lewiston-Auburn spends.

Lewiston has audited its General Assistance rolls and found that many of its recipients are obtaining benefits fraudulently. Has Portland done the same? It would be nice to see Portland Mayor Michael Brennan start looking for solutions instead of excuses.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew and Gov. Paul LePage have put forward a plan that makes sense. They want to eliminate the incentive to spend more, while rewarding communities that spend responsibly.

Mayor Brennan blames Portland’s high welfare spending on the influx of homeless people from out of state. He may have his causation reversed; I think it’s the easy welfare benefits that are bringing people to Portland.

Barbara Harvey

Portland