November 14, 2013

Letters to the editor: Is tax break for BIW really necessary?

A reader asks whether getting the TIF is critical to the shipyard's modernization plan.

The city of Bath is, once again, being asked to finance Bath Iron Works’ corporate growth through a tax increment finance-arranged tax break.

click image to enlarge

BIW cranes fill the Bath skyline. A writer says no one wants to see BIW fail, but asks whether TIF approval is critical to BIW’s modernization plan.

2013 Press Herald file/Gordon Chibroski

Simply put: With TIF, Bath receives $6.25 million in new taxes over 25 years. Without TIF, Bath receives $12.5 million to $14 million in new taxes over the same period.

Either way, newly generated taxes will be “sheltered” from state coffers, and any reduction in state disbursements, because the property growth will take place in an already existing TIF district.

No matter what spin is employed, the truth is that TIF approval means an additional windfall for BIW and another major loss of rightful and needed economic gain for Bath.

Existing TIF support to BIW amounts to $85 million in assistance from Bath alone, where only 7 percent of its workforce resides, whereas the state contributes just $100 million.

Bath need never feel conflicted in asking BIW to take responsibility for its own business interests, or fear accusation of a lack of partnership.

No one wishes BIW to fail as an economic engine. Scurrilous suggestions that BIW’s demise will somehow occur if this TIF is denied are without credibility and contribute nothing. Fear-mongering should never triumph over reasoned argument.

So, the two-part question to BIW is:

First: Without TIF approval, will you still go ahead and modernize for essential competitiveness?

Second: If not: Why won’t BIW-General Dynamics fully self-invest?

Continued public assistance to such a major corporate entity needs an incontestable explanation of need to those of us in Bath struggling to continue bearing a tax burden that BIW refuses to responsibly offset.

Gary Anderson


Maybe, just maybe, the tea party isn’t the enemy

A recent piece by state Rep. Jeff McCabe hit a raw nerve with me (“Another View: With attacks, misinformation, GOP legislator crosses line,” Oct. 23).

In retaliating against a column by state Rep. Lawrence Lockman, McCabe repeatedly makes reference to “tea party misinformation” and “tea party politicians like Lockman,” not to mention “the tea party might not like it ... .”

The absurdity of this lame attempt at guilt by association is astonishing.

The tea party stands for fiscal responsibility, limited government, lower taxes, adherence to the Constitution and living within our means. It consists of everyday Americans – dentists, small-business owners, homemakers – who object to generational theft. They are fearful of the future that awaits our children, saddled with a staggering $17 trillion debt, poor work opportunities and creeping poverty.

Even Barack Obama sounded like a tea partier in 2008. As a presidential candidate, in a speech blasting President Bush, he bemoaned “over $9 trillion in debt that we are going to have to pay back.” He said, “That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

Now, an additional $8 trillion in debt later, Democrats like McCabe somehow think the tea party is the enemy.

He advocates the expansion of MaineCare, because the feds promise under Obamacare to pay for 100 percent of the expansion for three years, jolting MaineCare enrollment from 330,000 to 400,000, with a 90 percent payment thereafter.

But there’s no guarantee that a future Congress won’t lower the matching funds, which would force Maine to severely cut spending on education, roads, revenue sharing and much more.

McCabe doesn’t mention where Washington would get the money for this largesse, such as slashing some $700 billion from Medicare and raising $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade. But why worry? After all, it’s the tea party’s fault, right?

Republican state Sen. Doug Thomas


S. Portland needs to change focus, decide what it wants

For the past several months, South Portland residents have been bombarded with information about our port and the possibility of “tar sands” being loaded out through it.

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