Support Carbon Cashback policies

Many are frightened by global warming and feel unable to do anything about it. Instead of feeling helpless, use your power and support a policy called Carbon Cashback. It’s simple in concept and simple to support. With Carbon Cashback the government puts a fee on fossil fuels as they are extracted and gives the money to Americans monthly. It is a fee rather than a tax because the government gives it back to citizens so they can afford higher prices on fossil fuels as we transition to renewables. If you are middle- or lower-income, the check will more than cover the increased cost of fuels. If you are rich, it may not cover your increased cost but you could switch to renewables quickly. Most economists feel this system will be more efficient and cheaper than new regulations because the business world will be good at figuring out how to replace fossil fuels if it will save them money. Many countries have shown this works.

Thousands of environmental groups are fighting climate change and innovating, but we need a policy such as Carbon Cashback to speed up this process to save our planet. There are bills in Congress to enact a Carbon Cashback plan. If you would like to get a monthly check that helps you painlessly change your lifestyle to help the environment (and maybe get some extra cash in your pocket), please write Sens. King, Collins and Reps. Pingree and Golden about Carbon Cashback now.

Nancy Hasenfus,

Town should partner with ecomaine, continue partnership with Casella

The Brunswick Recycling & Sustainability Committee, of which I am a member, has recommended the town enter into a long-term agreement with ecomaine for recycling and waste-to-energy services, for compelling reasons. At the top of the list are the excellence of these ecomaine services, and the huge reduction of the town’s net greenhouse gas emissions that would be achieved: almost 80%, which is 2,500 tons of CO2 equivalent pollutants.

Other options exist, without the same benefits. These options are being portrayed inaccurately and disparaged by some commentators. This demeans the work of town officials and the performance of existing vendors. We can do better, advocating for a good decision while staying on the high road.

The Recycling & Sustainability Committee’s recommendation will be possible thanks to essential services provided by Casella Waste Systems, which would continue to collect our recyclables and trash, then transport these materials to ecomaine in Portland. Casella has been a valued, reliable working partner with the town of Brunswick for a long time, and would continue to provide these critically-important services. In fact, of the estimated total cost of $1.3 million for all the services to be provided by both entities, Casella would receive about two-thirds of this amount and ecomaine one-third.

Happily, in total this is less money that we’ve been spending, for a vastly better outcome. We should be grateful for the presence of both ecomaine and Casella and our opportunity to work with each one.

Steve Weems,


Pro Act would harm freelancers

Hope Pollard wrote about PRO Act concerns from the building and contractor perspective (“Maine’s senators Collins and King should oppose PRO Act,” The Times Record, March 30). I’d like to provide the perspective of a freelance writer.

First, let me say that I come from a union family — teachers and tradespeople. I’m not anti-union; I’m anti-federal legislation that could put me out of business. I’ve been a self-employed writer and independent contractor since 1993. Pollard mentioned people like me: “[T]he bill implements new restrictions for independent contractors, curbing the freedom and flexibility to work.”

This curbing comes from the ABC Test used in the PRO Act. This “test” is supposed to define who is or isn’t an employee. The problem lies in prong “B” of the test, which, as a freelancer, I fail every time.

That’s because “B” says I cannot provide services, as an independent contractor, to a company in the same niche. So, unless magazines and book publishers, which have a history of hiring freelancers since this country’s founding, hire writers as employees (not likely to happen), we’ll all see our careers end. It also means freelance musicians couldn’t fill in at the Portland Symphony Orchestra or independent gardeners couldn’t help the Maine Landscape & Nursery Association with the annual flower show.

According to Fight for Freelancers USA, with the PRO Act codifying the ABC Test into labor and employment law, it will hurt independent Mainers more than help them. Thankfully, Sens. Collins and King haven’t signed on to sponsor the PRO Act. I hope they never do.


Leah Ingram,

State laws limiting voting paves way for fascism

When we follow a person rather than a constitution, we risk seriously wounding our democracy. George Washington knew this when he declined to become king of our new country after the Revolution. That is why the founding fathers held a Constitutional convention, to create a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” as referred to by President Lincoln. It was structured to have a representative legislature and a president, not a monarch.

Unlike a monarch, a president takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and follow the rule of law. The first thing aspiring authoritarian rulers do is convince people elections don’t work properly, and then take their representation away by suppressing the vote. Yet, without this cornerstone of democracy, there will be no freedom. Everything will be at the whim of the king, as it was before the Revolutionary War.

Republicans have proposed laws in 43 states to curtail voting rights. The most recent states to pass restrictive voting laws are Georgia and Texas. Exhaustive scrutiny of the 2020 elections by all 50 states’ election boards, and even the Supreme Court, produced no evidence of fraud or corruption. Republicans are attempting to ‘fix’ voting systems that aren’t broken.

Historically, there has always been some voter suppression, especially against minorities. This was addressed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It took two centuries of law to finally allow the majority of citizens their right to vote. The United States has intervened all over the world to ensure that people in other countries have that right. States like Georgia and Texas now are trying to deny substantial numbers of their citizens, mostly minorities, the right that American soldiers have died to give to those in foreign countries. Are we going to continue to be a democracy or give it up to fascist authoritarian rule? We must decide.

Susan Chichetto,

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