Greg Kesich may be right about the need for Maine to attract younger people to move here, and for existing Mainers to help grow the population of babies (“Ask a candidate for governor where babies come from,” May 5, 2010). But I think he’s dead wrong in his portrayal of retirees as not paying taxes and somehow needing more government services.

I did move to Portland after retiring, so I’m out of the work force. But I certainly didn’t stop paying taxes: real estate taxes, car excise taxes and sales taxes. my reckoning, Maine and Portland get more than $8,500 a year in taxes from me. When some of my investments come back, I’ll be paying income taxes, too. What services do “older people” need? How much extra do I cost? I do get city and state services for my taxes — police and fire protection, snow clearing, street cleaning just like everyone else. But I don’t have kids in school or college, so in that area I’m not a drain on resources.

My wife and I contribute more than just taxes. At the national average of about $20 per hour estimated value, even our modest volunteer work contributes to our community the equivalent of about $8,000 a year. On balance I’d say that most of us retirees are more asset than liability.

And about being “friendlier to ‘people from away’” we moved here partly because Mainers — natives and “blow-ins” — are so friendly. Our out-of-state visitors can’t get over how friendly people are here. (the way, if you don’t want more of us retirees moving here, maybe the state should outlaw Down East magazine’s annual issue on how to retire to Maine.)

Yes, the whole state could benefit from more jobs, better support for education, cleaner streets and all the rest. And we’d be better off with a broad range of ages. But let’s not make older citizens part of the problem.



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