Gov. LePage wants to eventually eliminate income taxes. I disagree.

Instead, eliminate other taxes. The state income tax is onerous, but marvelously efficient. We pay based upon calculations already computed for our federal income taxes. We can be taxed by our ability to pay. The poor, the retired, the unemployed could and should pay less.

Conversely, the state’s inefficient sales tax requires too many of us to be tax collectors and requires too many state employees to administer. It taxes indiscriminately, without regard to wealth or poverty, even taxing children.

In this state, we have many inefficient and cumbersome taxes that impede our economy that beg to be eliminated.

Taxes, whose purpose is to raise revenue, are sometimes stealthily named. Unnecessary licensure is a prime example. Just about any adult can obtain hunting or fishing licenses – provided they pay a fee; this is the license’s purpose. A state identification should be sufficient.

While trying to create jobs and encourage people to work, we inhibit them with licensure. We require renewable licenses for beauticians, barbers, dental hygienists, manicurists and even worm diggers. We accordingly add unnecessary enforcement and regulatory personnel.

State bureaucrats require unnecessary and ill-considered requirements for renewal. How is the public protected by requiring a license for a worm digger?

Let the state judiciously protect its citizens by requiring only those licenses that the state is willing to provide free. To protect the state from frivolous applications, applicants could pay a fee, refundable after licensure.

Richard Sabine


City’s public high schools seek input on using grant

Change is in the air at Portland’s four public high schools this spring.

Parents, students, staff and community members all are involved in planning how our district will use a $5 million grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to implement student-centered learning in our high schools. Our goal is to help more students become engaged in their education so that they complete high school prepared for work, college and citizenship.

Our district is considering four learning models that we may implement with the grant funds, and we expect to select two of them.

We will hold informational sessions for parents, students and other community members to learn more about each of the models. Two of the models will be presented Wednesday, and the other two will do so on May 2.

We want to involve as many people as possible in the selection process, so we are holding three sessions on each of those days. Translators will be available. To find more detailed information, visit the Portland Public Schools website:

We encourage all middle school and high school students and parents as well as interested community members to join us Wednesday and May 2.

Deborah Migneault

principal, Portland High School

Michael Johnson

principal, Portland Arts and Technology High School

Derek Pierce

principal, Casco Bay High School

Ira Waltz

principal, Deering High School

Cheney’s heart transplant poses ethical questions

I may not like Dick Cheney’s politics. I also do not wish anyone to die. However, was it wise for a transplant team to put a new heart in a 71-year-old man?

I know more about organ donations than I care to admit. My father died waiting for a lung transplant for his pulmonary fibrosis. He was only on the list for less than five months. He was No. 3 on the list for his blood type for all of that time.

He only moved up to No. 1 on the list the last weekend of his life. He was not moved up due to the two people above him getting their transplants. He was placed No. 1 due to the serious change in his condition.

My father was a very active man. Even while waiting for a transplant, he continued to be an umpire behind home plate for indoor softball. He would call a time out when he needed a break to use his oxygen tank.

When my father was put on the list in Boston, he was told that if he was over 65 that he would not be eligible for a transplant.

Is it possible now that a family may have to bury someone they love who is in their teens, 20s or 30s while a 71-year-old man nearing the end of his life may get an additional few years? I have to wonder if the reason for the transplant is that he was an important person.

I may be opening a can of worms here. But it was hard not to notice that people are just wishing him well (which I do) but are not asking why.

Shelley Back


Motorcyclist’s close call stirs gratitude, not anger

To the automobile driver who held my life in their hands March 22 at the intersection of Range Road and Route 100 in Cumberland at 11:30 p.m.:

I am the motorcycle driver who you pulled out in front of and then stopped, giving me an opportunity to go by without a collision.

I know what you did; I’ve almost done it myself. You stopped, looked left, right, left again, taking a full five or six seconds; didn’t see a moving vehicle and pulled out, only to realize at that last, critical moment, something was wrong. It still wasn’t a motorcycle, just something odd, and you eased off the gas and stopped.

At that moment, the difference between having a wreck and watching someone die and simply driving home after a night visiting a friend was tenths of a second. I was able to keep the bike upright and go by your front bumper with literally an inch to spare.

I don’t hate you. I am truly not angry at you. In fact, I am grateful that you spent that critical tenth of a second to take a second look and scratch that mental itch that suggested something was wrong. I realized how tenuous life is and how easy it is to lose.

You and I are very lucky people. I will be more careful on my motorcycle and take nothing for granted. You will drive and not have the nightmare of picturing over and over again the sight of someone dying because of a moment’s inattention.

Perhaps you’ll share your story and help other drivers look for motorcycles and bicycles before they pull out. I know I will. Thanks again for taking that extra look.

Bob Humphreys