July 6, 2013

Letters to the editor: Give extra school aid back to taxpayers

As I understand it, Maine lawmakers are offering a bill to enable school districts to spend some "found money" in the state budget without having local governments being forced to go to a local referendum ("Maine bill would free school aid without approval by voters," July 1).

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A reader says that $29 million in unexpected state education funding should go toward tax relief.


The only argument about this deal seems to turn on the whole idea of how to spend the money: whether it should be with or without local voter review.

The article reports that school budgets are all set for the year and that this $29 million was included in the state budget "unexpectedly," which I take to mean, it wasn't planned for, and, one would assume, therefore isn't necessary since the budgets are all closed at this point.

Here's a novel idea, Augusta: Give it back!

It isn't your money to start with, and if it isn't necessary to the school budgets, it definitely is to me and my fellow taxpayers.

Your baseline reaction shouldn't be "how do we go about spending this extra money?" It should be "how can we get this unused money back to the taxpayers who it belongs to?"

I've got no problem paying taxes. I have a real problem paying more in taxes than is necessary.

Would that some crusading politician would stand up and say, "Not one penny more!"

Skip Simonds


Vendor of religious items will miss seeing customers

After many decades of serving the parishes and the community, it is with great sadness that we are closing our shop ("Ave Maria Gift Shop closing after 65 years," June 29).

We would have loved to remain open, as it has been a part of our whole lives. This decision was not made lightly; a lot of thought and prayer went into this. Due to family health-related issues, we have decided to close to be with the ones we love.

We wish to thank everyone for all the support over the years. I have enjoyed doing business with the parishes and the community members.

I feel truly blessed to have been a part of so many lives and to have been part of so many different occasions in people's lives.

I have met countless people over the years, and the most special and touching part of my job has been listening to the customers share their joys and being able to comfort my customers in their times of trial and tribulations.

I want to thank everyone who has supported the business over the years and everyone who has been a part of our life. We will miss everyone greatly.

God bless you.

Connie Somma

owner, Ave Maria Gift Shop


Plan to help ease warming will aid species, economy

President Obama recently took a bold step to address the threat and impacts of climate change with the unveiling of his Climate Action Plan ("Obama details sweeping plan to tackle climate change," June 25). This much-needed step from the federal government is long overdue.

His plan to cut carbon emissions from the nation's power plants (which account for more than one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions) and to invest in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy will curb the impacts our warming planet is having on wildlife and wildlife habitat.

We are pleased that a key component of the president's plan is to implement climate-adaptation strategies for fish and wildlife populations, forests, freshwater resources and the ocean.

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