The Press Herald’s Feb. 5 editorial, “Our View: Push for tax cuts ignores other options” (Page D2), is exactly right. With a state revenue surplus of $1 billion or so, this is the moment to finally bring to scale the proven programs and policies that we know can benefit all Mainers.

Gov. Mills has proposed hundreds of millions of dollars to strengthen the state’s physical infrastructure: bridges, roads, ports, state parks, waste treatment and more. Excellent! Now she and the Legislature should commit similar funding, yes, hundreds of millions, for Maine’s human infrastructure: education, job training, child protection, health, mental health, drug and alcohol treatment, care for the elderly, child care, paid leave and more opportunities for the disabled.

Nothing is more powerful than human minds – minds that can solve our social ills. Creating these minds requires strong families and communities. While state and local public agencies and nonprofit organizations can deliver quality services, they can’t possibly, on their own, raise the money needed to succeed.

The state’s social problems are well documented, and curbing them would make Maine an even better place to live. I suggest that the various statewide social organizations, as soon as possible, come and work together to construct a human infrastructure budget based on their documented needs. I believe that Gov. Mills and lawmakers would be responsive to such an investment. And I believe that Maine citizens would support such a long-term investment in their own and their families’ well-being.

Michael Petit

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