December 5, 2010

Letters to the editor, Dec. 5, 2010
Gas tax hike would really hurt

I assume that state Rep. Ann Peoples, D-Westbrook, does not know anyone who is upset with the price of gasoline in her district ("On the roads again: Find new ways to pay for maintenance, group urges," Nov. 28).

click image to enlarge

Portlanders fill up in May 2008, when the price of gas topped $4 a gallon for a brief time. A reader says Mainers are paying enough.

2008 Telegram file

She states that Maine drivers absorbed the latest round of gasoline price increases without anybody yelling or screaming, so they could easily handle a hike in the gas tax.

She must live in a pretty affluent neighborhood due to the fact that none of them is complaining about the ever-increasing cost of gasoline.

I find it hard to believe that none of her constituents has ever complained to her about the high taxes we are paying per gallon.

What would she have Mainers do? Start yelling and screaming to the public, gas companies, to our legislative body and to our governor?

We Mainers have passed every bond issue in the last 10 years that I am aware of to fund millions of our tax dollars for the maintenance and repair of our roads. Now she feels that we should increase our gas tax from near 50 cents a gallon to -- what? Is there no end to the taxation of every hard-working Mainer?

Perhaps she is right in her assumption that Mainers are not yelling and screaming about these increases. Could it be possible that they feel they are banging their heads against the wall because the establishment is not listening?

My question to Rep. Peoples is this: If we yell and scream about the huge increases in the rising cost of fuel, will they stop?

Paul St. Jean

Sanford

Accounts of Oxford casino not giving accurate outlook

The Nov. 18 report by staff writer Tom Bell, "Board oversight of Oxford casino to cost a bundle," perpetuated a false belief that the Oxford casino would not be able to provide enough revenue to cover the costs associated with the regulation of the casino.

The story as written inferred the resort would have a regulatory revenue shortfall each and every year of an estimated $600,000. As you would expect, many readers were outraged at the indicated shortfall.

However, the story was reported incorrectly, and based upon the state of Maine's own estimates the resort should provide about $2.1 million per year for administrative costs. At the end of the first three years it will have generated an estimated $1.5 million surplus for oversight regulation.

Although Mr. Bell printed a retraction after he conferred with Gaming Control Board Director Bob Welch, he did not correct the core message that the casino would indeed cover all administrative costs with a healthy surplus for the General Fund.

Maine citizens deserve an accurate representation of the facts, and the fact is once operational the resort will generate millions of tax dollars without costing Maine citizens a dime, fully covering all expenses.

Black Bear Entertainment is anxious and excited to bring jobs to Maine, while generating desperately needed educational funding to every municipal school system in Maine. We have already received about 3,000 job inquiries. We are hoping for a smooth regulatory process and are moving ahead in preparation for groundbreaking in 2011.

Peter Martin

Government relations adviser Black Bear Entertainment

Winslow

Once again this paper has proven how uninformed, inept and naive your editors are. I reference the Nov. 8 editorial, "One, two, many casinos need better regulation."

Where has the writer of this trash been living? I am confident they are not from Maine! Please allow me equal time to educate this newspaper about the history of (gambling in Maine). If a person spends the entire week's pay, if rent is not paid, if a divorce occurs, if children are abused, if crime runs rampant and homes are lost, a casino is at fault, right?

Wrong! This has happened here in Maine for years. All without a casino. Can this be so? The gambling venues that exist are vast. I have witnessed people going hungry buying pull tab tickets at American Legions, Elks, VFWs, bingo halls, etc.

These same places sponsor casino nights, coin boards, bingo games and the highly addictive poker machines and raffles of all types. Most of these are under the guise of nonprofit, charitable and church (therefore, nontaxable) legal gambling.

The Maine State Lottery is legal gambling at its worst. If 20 times $20 is $400 lost on scratch tickets, is this not a detriment to one's family? Or $400 lost at an OTB on a horse?

Illegal poker parlors, bookies for all sports betting, Internet gambling with credit cards and busloads of Maine people going to Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Atlantic City, Las Vegas and more, all of this is tax-free and benefits Maine not at all.

Common sense says only the people already benefiting from gambling would be opposed to a casino. Make gambling legal, tax it and let Maine benefit from it. If you can convince me that losing my home by betting on a horse is worse than a slot machine, I may relent.

Edwin Morris III

Benton

In last Sunday's Telegram you had another anti-casino editorial cartoon ("Steve Meyers' View," Nov. 28). Unless I am mistaken the election is over and the people of Maine have approved this casino.

I got weary of your negative attacks on the casino during the election and see no reason for you to keep running them. Why don't you wait and see how well it works for the Oxford area and the state and then you can run a report on how it pans out? Until then, please knock off the attacks.

Bruce Raeburn

Windham

Preserving wild places leaves room to exercise

Obesity rates in Maine have risen in the past years, and as a health professional I am confronted with it every day. One way to curb obesity rates is to spend more time outside, experiencing our shared public lands.

When people spend time hiking in wild places, they not only get the chance to experience nature, but they also take steps toward losing weight.

Right now, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have the opportunity to vote for dozens of conservation measures -- including 21 wilderness and wildland protection bills -- that will preserve our land and waters, and enable us to enjoy the places we love for generations to come.

By voting to support these bills, they will be voting for Mainers and our nation's health.

Nathan Murray-James

Wayne

Too many politicians fret only about gaining power

Staff writer Tom Bell's article on the front page of the Sunday Telegram ("Portland's clout has suddenly run out," Nov. 21) points directly to what is wrong with politicians today.

In the article, state Sen. Joseph Brannigan, D-Portland, is quoted as saying "Power is what is important, and we don't have it." Regardless of whether it's Washington, D.C., or Augusta, Maine, politicians are more interested in who's in power than working in a bipartisan fashion.

You would think that after the trouncing the Democrats took in Washington and in Augusta, Sen. Brannigan would have a little more humility. The message from the electorate was pretty clear: "Enough already!" We're tired of the bickering, we're tired of the loggerheads, and we're tired of one party using its "power" to advance its own agenda.

And the message to the Republicans is clear, too; compromise, do the work we all need you to do, but do it with honor and integrity, or you also will soon find that the true power belongs to We the People!

Mark Faunce

Limington

Future of naval air station should include greenspace

Your many fine reports on matters local, state, national are appreciated.

The essential detail on Brunswick Naval Air Station matters should include Brunswick Parks and Gardens proposals to build a sort of natural wonder where our tourists might marvel along with us. Thanks.

Joan Crothers

Brunswick

 

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