I oppose the proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to cut funding for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services by more than $200 million.

Most people around the world, regardless of their religion, agree on five universal societal values: honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect and compassion.

I don’t believe that this proposal is consistent with any of these five values.

The governor’s office is not being honest about whether we can afford these services. In January, LePage said that Maine could afford a $200 million reduction of state income taxes, primarily benefiting the wealthiest Maine citizens. Maybe he wasn’t telling the truth then, either.

Apparently we can’t afford these tax cuts unless we greatly reduce programs that benefit people who really need help that they cannot otherwise afford to pay for.

Does LePage feel no sense of responsibility for their dilemma? Where is the fairness, respect and compassion?

This administration, heavily coached by the Maine Heritage Policy Center, is all about growing jobs and putting people to work so that they can take care of themselves and will not need financial assistance from government.

I agree that Maine should do what it can to promote job opportunities, but this proposal does not do that. In fact, many state and private-sector workers will lose their jobs. In this economy, where will they find another job? Most of them will collect unemployment compensation. They will have less money to spend to support jobs in the retail and service sectors of the Maine economy.

The Maine Legislature — Republicans, Democrats and independents working together — must reject this proposal. We need these services. We need the state workers who are trained to administer them and the private sector programs that help.

Elery Keene


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