It’s budget season again in Windham and other municipalities along with the state and county budgets as well.

As far as Windham goes, both the proposed school and municipal budgets call for an increase in taxes and I seriously doubt the school committee or town council will do any serious cuts to those proposed budgets.

At least one can go to the polls on Election Day in June to vote on the school budget instead of going to the antiquated town meeting to vote on the municipal budget. I don’t have a clue why we should pay the cost of both days instead of combining both budget votes on Election Day and doing away with the Windham Town Meeting. Actually, I do know why and it’s because the town manager and town council have never wanted that change to take place so they have never made it a ballot question.

As far as the school budget goes, I hope everyone in Windham and Raymond is prepared for the school unit to take at least a million dollars or more every year from us for eternity. What amazes me is that more and more money every year pours into education and yet the results are disappointing because there is no significant increase in test scores or what’s even worse, actual results that are visible on the streets. I have a couple of suggestions to make and I don’t care who it upsets. The first is that parents be responsible for the transportation of their children to and from their schools. I don’t care whether they transport the kids or pay for the full cost of either public or private buses. The school unit does not include the cost of transporting students to and from school in the cost of education so the taxpayers shouldn’t as well. I never saw a school bus during both of my military tours in Europe or Asia.

Maine, including Windham, has another problem as well. I was not shocked when I listened to a report on Fox News from a Wall Street Journal business analysis that Maine is one of the worst places to live after New York, California and Arkansas. As a retiree, I now believe that is true. Maine not only has one of the highest tax burdens, it does not give any special tax breaks to seniors and retirees like many southern states do. In some states once reaching a certain age seniors no longer have to pay school taxes and I think that is both appropriate and fair. I believe that school taxes should vary by the number of children a family has in local schools. Our nation was founded on the belief of fair taxation. Why should a family having four children in a school pay the same property tax rate while receiving four additional tax deductions when a household of no children pays the same property tax rate?

I haven’t had a chance to review the RSU 14 school budget but I have looked at Tony Plante’s proposed Windham budget. First let me say that the proposed budget is at best confusing and I fully suspect that there’s a reason why. It’s not that easy to dissect and digest and I am suspect that it doesn’t even add up properly. What scares me even more is that the town manager calls for five more personnel in the Public Works Department while shifting money out of the monies taken in from the tax increment financing zones into the town budget. As most should know, I believe that one of the worst-run town departments is Public Works and last Sunday I looked at the dump trucks at Public Works and was shocked that many still had the snowplow and wings still attached to the trucks. If those trucks are just sitting there I see no justification for additional personnel. I think the best thing to do if there is no one to do a certain job is to hire private subcontractors because our taxes don’t have to pay for benefits and retirement.

Lane Hiltunen, of Windham, doesn’t have to wonder why so many town committees have vacancies.