By Rep. David Webster
June 14, 2005
The Legislature is working to fill a $250 million dollar financial hole created in response to the people’s requirement that we increase funding to local schools.
As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee, I have been working to examine programs and make cuts while keeping in mind that we also received a message from a significant majority in November telling us that people do not want to make drastic cuts to services.
I have spoken with many constituents in the past week. Some ask why we cut the sales tax from 6 percent to 5 percent when we have such needs. A significant number of people ask that we protect elders and children, and address the crisis of rising health care costs. It is clear that many in Freeport and Pownal, as well as others in Maine, value the Dirigo Health Insurance Plan. There are already over 70 individuals and small businesses from Freeport and Pownal enrolled.
These messages supporting services are in sharp contrast to the few concerns I’ve heard about raising taxes. Even so, I am committed to trying to find reasonable cuts. I am mindful that we have a responsibility to protect services, education and our environment, and create jobs and prosperity.
As you hear the pros and cons of each cut or revenue idea, please remember that there is a delicate balance involved in providing tax relief and increasing education funding while protecting vital services.
Rep. David Webster (D-Freeport)