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Rep. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 05/09/12

Rep. Volk survey: Scarborough residents value education over the economy and environment

AUGUSTA - Scarborough residents strongly favor performance evaluations for school teachers and principals, increased funding for the highway budget and the issuing of bonds to expand the supply of natural gas in Maine.

They also rate education as a more important issue than economic or environmental concerns and believe the Legislature should focus on cutting taxes and regulations (57.3 percent) over preserving public benefits (42.7 percent).

Those are some of the results of a constituent survey conducted by Rep. Amy Volk, a first-term Republican representing District 127, which includes a portion of Scarborough.

"I'm grateful to all the Scarborough residents who responded to the questionnaire," Rep. Volk said. "It's vital that legislators know the views of their constituents, so as to more faithfully represent them in Augusta. I recognize that a survey like this is not scientific, but it is a finger on the pulse of residents who took the time to complete a short questionnaire.

"I was pleased to see that my district supports the Legislature's major achievements from 2011," she added. "Regulatory reform was rated the most significant accomplishment by 40 percent, followed by tax cuts and welfare reform, both at 18.2 percent, health insurance reform at 16.4 percent and pension reform at 12.7 percent. The changes to the public pension system, incidentally, cut $1.6 billion from the debt and will save taxpayers more than $3 billion by 2028, when the unfunded liability must be paid off."

By 87.5 percent to 12.5 percent, respondents agreed that school administrative units should develop and implement performance evaluation and professional growth systems for teachers and principals. Legislation to accomplish that, LD 1858, was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by Governor LePage.

In another lopsided result, 73.9 percent said they favored transferring to the Highway Fund 20 percent of the sales or use tax on motor vehicles and parts. The money would be used to construct and maintain highways and bridges. A bill to accomplish that, LD 52, has passed the Legislature. Its fate depends on action at the Special Appropriations Table, where Appropriations Committee members decide whether the revenue loss to the General Fund would be acceptable.

It seems clear that Scarborough residents are looking to Maine's energy future. By a three to one margin, they favor authorizing the Finance Authority of Maine to issue bonds for energy distribution projects to expand the supply of natural gas in the state. The governor has already signed a bill to permit the bond issuance.

Residents were more closely divided on other current issues. For example, by 56.7 percent to 43.3 percent, they think MaineCare benefits should be more closely aligned with national averages by eliminating most optional services.

Lastly, by 57 percent to 43 percent, they oppose cutting $1.7 million in state funding to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network to help balance the biennial budget. The Legislature approved a supplemental budget that maintains funding for MPBN while working to shift to a fee-for-service model over the next five years. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445