Monday, December 9, 2013
As the dust settles on a 16th successful TD Beach to Beacon road race, we would like to echo Joan Benoit Samuelson's praise for her retiring race president, Dave Weatherbie.
The TD Beach to Beacon is one of the top road races in the U.S. thanks in large part to retiring race president Dave Weatherbie, letter writers say.
Joan summed up Dave's 16-year effort simply as "amazing" ("Race Notebook: Weatherbie steps down as race president after 16 years," Aug. 3). We would like to add to that statement.
We realize that Dave is only one of hundreds of volunteers who make the TD Beach to Beacon possible, but as its president he has lent his considerable skills and passion toward making it one of the premier road races in the country. In addition to his leadership role in organizing the race, it should also be noted that he ran this year's race in 36:37 (fourth place among 324 males age 45-49). Not bad for a guy with a full-time job, a family and numerous other volunteer commitments.
Dave is also a valued member of our noontime running group, which has been meeting even longer than Dave's tenure at Beach to Beacon. We look forward to seeing him more frequently now that his TD Beach to Beacon presidential duties have ended. On behalf of our running group, the greater Maine running community and all B2B'rs, we say thank you Dave for a job well done.
and 14 additional signers
Put all of Congress Square at street level, add greenery
In my opinion, there is only one viable solution to the Congress Square Plaza controversy. That is to fill in the misguided sunken area to street level.
Both Tommy's Park and Post Office Park are well frequented. They are both at street level. Once filled in, the area could be planted with grass and trees. Benches and walkways also would be appropriate.
Seasonal residents should contribute more in taxes
Why does our Legislature refuse to address income tax equitability regarding seasonal nonresidents? This tax break implicitly awarded to them yearly is unconscionable.
Maine, arguably, receives no net tax revenue from "seasonal citizens." They whimsically enjoy and recharge their being in our "quality of life" while we, as the state's citizens, bear the tax burden to maintain our governmental infrastructure for their yearly use: roads, bridges, utilities, fire, police, courts, Legislature, administration, environment, education, etc. In fact, the income tax burden is so unfairly skewed that many retiring state residents immediately switch their tax residence to another, less income tax-burdened state, Florida.
In checking our state's revenue data, the tax categories producing the most (i.e. income tax and excise tax) do not hit the seasonal residents, and because they don't spend the majority of their time here, they contribute meagerly to supplementary tax categories (i.e. sales tax, soda, wine, beer). Ironically, property tax is the major category in which they participate, which local governments are desperately trying to lower. Talk about shooting ourselves collectively in the foot while they laugh all the way home with our "unpaid" tax dollars to support their lifestyle.
Question: For what reason should we citizens extend in-state property tax equitability to property that is subsidized by Maine income tax but owned by nonresidents? We should not.
However, only the state Legislature can fix the seasonal resident contradiction through creation of a state income-property tax linkage; it's not within the jurisdiction of local governments. It should link state income tax revenue requirements to property tax revenues, requiring seasonal residents to equitably contribute to tax revenues while not raising the property tax on state residents.
The legislators need to get over their reticence and accomplish seasonal resident tax equitability; ask any citizen.
Restrain corporate power, give more to the states
In his column, "Conservative author offers path away from nanny state" (Aug. 16) M.D. Harmon presents an excellent summary of Mark Levin's best-seller, "The Liberty Amendment," which proposes to fix all that is wrong with the Washington establishment.
Mr. Levin favors the original intent of the Constitution that limits government: "They (the Framers) designed 'checks and balances' to prevent 'factions' from running wild by limiting them via constitutionally defined powers that were further constrained by the separate roles of the states, and the inalienable rights of the people themselves." The goal, Levin says, is "not the dissolution of the federal government" but rather that "the states will actually have input into their own fate."
Mr. Harmon summarizes Mr. Levin's overall intent as "(restraining) the ever-growing and increasingly intrusive and unaffordable nanny state." Substitute "corporate" for "nanny" and the picture becomes much clearer as far as what "factions" are really in need of restraint. Corporations ship jobs overseas and suppress wages at home. Congress and the Supreme Court favor companies over individuals and our president has gone back on his promise for "change" in Washington.
We should restrain corporate state-ism and repeal Citizens United. Then bring the jobs back and offer a living wage. We should stop investing in wars and instead build the infrastructure of America. Develop a strong middle class and the "nanny state" debate will disappear.
To prevent corporate CEOs from running wild with our government and further destroying our standard of living, the individual states should take charge of our nation's fate.
Mr. Levin's proposed use of Article V of the Constitution (which he calls the "Achilles heel of state-ism") to regain control of our government may be, as Mr. Harmon suggests, the only way out. Let's hope.
Robert J. Seeber