February 11

Letter to the editor: Maine should save General Assistance for local needs

Maine’s General Assistance program is funded using local property and state taxes. It’s intended for the needs of local residents.

It’s disconcerting to read the caterwauling in the pages of the Portland Press Herald about how Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to align General Assistance to federal law is:

“Unfair” (“Letter to the editor: Asylum seekers already here should not lose state aid,” Jan. 16).

An “immoral proposal” (“Letter to the editor: Gov. LePage’s General Assistance proposal looks self-serving,” Jan. 20).

A “war on the poor” (“Bill Nemitz: Try looking at asylum seekers from both sides,” Jan. 26).

What is immoral is using funds intended to help municipalities to grease the skids for a continuing inflow of gatecrashers into Maine.

What’s not understood is the insidious nature of the asylum program. Unlike the refugee program, there’s no limit on those granted asylum status. The program started in 1980 with an annual limit of 5,000; the limits were removed in 2005. In 2012, the number granted asylum status in the United States increased to 29,484.

While the gatecrashers’ needs are trumpeted by their advocates, what we don’t hear are our local needs.

Bridgton’s food pantries and fuel collaborative were running out of money and had to broadcast requests for donations.

Bridgton is among the poorest communities in Cumberland County, and its needs are no less significant than those of the asylees – a situation I am fully aware of, as I was able through Divine Providence to establish a charitable trust, which recently made contributions to our fuel collaborative that will help heat the homes of one or more of our local families for the remainder of the winter.

General Assistance should be for well-established local and state residents only – period!

Bob Casimiro


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)