– In a recent Portland Press Herald article, Dale McCormick, executive director of the Maine State Housing Authority, said she is tired of the criticism of her actions as head of the agency. If so, then maybe she should not spend the taxpayers’ money like it was there to be wasted.

Here is a person responsible for the construction of “affordable housing” for low-income families in Maine who is paying three to four times the market rate for living space to house those in need. Now that this news is out, she feels “blind-sided by criticism of her oversight.”

MaineHousing is a $1.6 billion financial institution and it’s scary to think how much waste has probably already taken place. With an annual operating budget of about $13 million and 143 employees, they just can’t figure out that rental units can actually be built for about $100 per square foot, so they are paying $200 to $400 per foot. They are truly a contractor’s dream customer.

Only an entrenched bureaucrat could waste millions of taxpayer dollars so foolishly and then be shocked that it’s an issue. Naturally, like any good bureaucrat, she has formed a cost-containment committee. Translation — “Let’s study it until the dust settles and then change nothing.”

Ms. McCormick does not answer to the MaineHousing board, has the authority to approve projects without the board’s approval and she can’t be fired. So we are stuck with a highly compensated director, spending taxpayer money at two to four times the necessary rate, who can do as she wishes, and who can’t be stopped or fired.

I really hope Ms. McCormick and her cronies are not “blind-sided” by the news that more than a few Maine taxpayers feel like suckers for being forced to fund such waste.

Dennis T. Caron

Cumberland Center

Why is the Christian Civic League getting involved in the confrontation between State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and Maine Housing Authority Executive Director Dale McCormick about that agency’s programs?

As the Portland Press Herald pointed out Nov. 28, “It’s the first time in recent memory the (Christian Civic League) has taken an active role on something other than abortion, gay rights or gambling.”

And if they are jumping into this battle, why are they siding against the working poor?

When I turn to the New Testament and read the words of Jesus Christ, it’s pretty clear to me where He stood on providing shelter to the homeless and caring for those in need.

The Christian Civic League should know that under Dale McCormick’s leadership, the Maine State Housing Authority has worked to reduce inefficiencies where they have existed in order to maximize the use of taxpayer dollars to create sustainable solutions to affordable housing in Maine — solutions that help the working poor, protect our environment, conserve energy and promote the fair treatment of Maine workers and their families.

That’s not simply the Maine way of doing things: It’s an approach to managing our state’s affordable housing program that reflects Christian values.

Kyle Bailey

Gorham

Snowe, Collins should back Democrats’ payroll tax cut

Both Maine Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe apparently support extending the federal payroll tax cut, but question how to pay for it or see only a small economic impact. (“Maine’s senators support extending payroll tax cut” — Nov. 30).

It is indeed a historic shift for Republicans to demand that the extension of a federal payroll tax cut beyond Dec. 31 must be offset by a new source of revenue and to argue that the reduction in the payroll tax paid by employees does not stimulate the economy.

Republicans have always invoked the trickle-down theory when proposing bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations — without requiring that those cuts be paid for — which the late John K. Galbraith described in the following terms: If one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.

A sensible and equitable revenue source is proposed by the Democrats to “pay for the payroll tax cut by imposing a 3.25 percent surcharge on the income taxes paid by people whose annual income exceeds $1 million.” (Nov. 30).

Opposition to extending the federal payroll tax cut currently enjoyed by every working American is good neither for the horse nor the sparrows

Robert F. Lyons

Kennebunkport

Head Start cuts would hurt neediest children

I am writing in response to proposed budget cuts at the federal and state levels to Head Start, a program providing quality early childhood education programs and other services to low-income children and their families. At a time when social delinquency among our young people is ever present, it is irresponsible and shortsighted to eliminate funding to a program that has proven to prevent such outcomes.

Over the past several years, studies have shown that participation in early education programs generates numerous benefits. Children gain positive, lasting effects on cognitive and language development in addition to attention skills. Furthermore, children who participate in programs such as Head Start demonstrate improved social competence and school readiness. In the long term, participants are less likely to require special education services and more likely to graduate.

While it is logical to assume that early education programs will benefit children by preparing them for kindergarten, additional outcomes reported are impressive. Longitudinal studies spanning more than 40 years indicate that every dollar invested in early childhood education yields up to $13 in savings to taxpayers. Children who receive the benefit of programs such as Head Start are more likely to be gainfully employed, less likely to commit crime and less likely to receive welfare benefits. There are even indications that participants of such programs have a higher percentage of home-ownership and higher median annual income when compared with non-participants.

Given the dramatic outcomes of quality early education programs such as Head Start, please join me in advocating for continued funding at a level that will allow all eligible families to benefit from this powerful service.

Tammy Sharkey Hohn,

early childhood special educator

Long Island