Letters, May 22

May 22, 2014

East-west highway will not benefit Maine

highway - n. a main road, especially one connecting major towns or cities.

We are students from Searsport District High School and we have been researching the effects of the proposed east-west highway. The highway shouldn't be built because of all the negative effects it will have on the state of Maine.

This highway will be beneficial to businesses of companies who truck goods across Maine. Specifically, these Canadian companies can truck goods through Maine faster and across less distance, thus using less gas. For example, the speed limit of 75 mph will decrease the border-to-border travel time. This is going to decrease shipping cost for industries. Another benefit is that there are six on/off ramps for trucks to exit the highway closer to their destination. Consequently, companies going through Maine will be able to reduce travel time and cost. While the highway may be beneficial to these Canadian companies, it will be detrimental to many Maine communities and businesses, and also to the environment.

Highways can be good, but that does not always make up for the negative effects. Specifically, the environment and local communities can be harmed when highways traverse them. Robert Long, in an editorial in the April 30, 2013, Bangor Daily News, quoted a local business owner, saying that the highway would devastate small businesses like his, a Kennebec River whitewater rafting company. This business owner, Chuck Peabody, spoke on behalf of the Maine Businesses Against the East-West Highway organization. Additionally, the highway will take 28,000 acres of land, part of that in the Appalachian Trail. The highway could decrease the amount of business traffic in local communities because it reroutes or bypasses traffic away from these small communities. One study in Wisconsin state that an average of 72-percent of traffic was rerouted around downtown areas.

This idea to stop the highway is supported by Rep. James Gillway, R-Searsport, who states, "In light of all the testimony against, doing things to further enable it just doesn't make sense to me." Nicky Ouellet, writer for the Earth Island Journal states, "If you build it [the highway], they [animals] will likely leave."

Consequently, if the highway were to be built, communities would be bypassed, forcing businesses to shut down and people to move away. Additionally, animals would move away because there wouldn't be any space for them. The number of negative effects that outweigh the positive effects are simply too many for this highway to be built.

In conclusion, the east-west highway should not be built because the harmful effects on the communities and the environment outweigh the helpful effects on large companies, most of which are not even in our state.

Tori Staples and Jillian Hartman

Searsport District High School students

Proposals for health care and tax reform

First, I thank The Republican Journal for printing my prior letter, "In favor of welfare reform." I hope it highlighted some of the issues, and fixes, as to welfare fraud.

I also wrote about Obamacare, and an alternate, "Unicare" single-payer health maintenance system. Do not mistake this for a full-scale government run single-payer system like Canada's and Great Britain's system. Rather, Unicare serves as a bare-bones HMO style care with high deductibles and large co-pays, plus clear care limits. Additional coverage is added as needed.

The very real risks of government-run systems are well known, and can be seen in how the Veterans' Administration treated sick veterans over the past years despite promises from the Obama Administration to fix those issues. What we now see is cruel negligence and outright malpractice. Be wary of it all.

Open your eyes, America, and learn from it.

My letter also addressed part of a comprehensive tax reform program, "gross receipts tax." If you read, and collected prior letters, you will know that I propose significant changes to our tax system, most done by concise constitutional amendments.

The big news this week has been French economist Thomas Piketty's new book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century." American's need to at least understand what Piketty's book — all well researched — finds for the future of capitalistic economic systems. It's not a pretty picture. Learn what you can.

Then, and only then, you might begin to understand why a tiny gross receipts tax, combined with a modest flat-rate income tax, no payroll taxes, plus multiple consumption taxes both general and targeted, can very equitably share the wealth a capitalist economy can create. But only if fairly shared, and taxed at each point.

Punish investment and those investments go elsewhere, as Apple and others have done with foreign profits. Pennies not spent cannot drive an economy, and those never earned cannot be spent, all killing positive economic flux. Penny wise economics.

Randall Hofland

Maine State Prison

Warren

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