Eric Haley, Waterville’s superintendent of schools, defined well the essence of his dilemma. His words, “I’m not unhappy with the expenditure side of the budgets; it’s the revenue sides that are killing us.” His per-capita student spending is lower than the state weighted average, and that implies his job performance is good. So what is the answer to his revenue problems? The easy answer of course is for the city is to once again load it onto homeowners with an increased tax levy. But that well is about to go dry. Homeowners will respond.

Former Waterville Mayor, now misguided governor, Paul LePage and our subservient and pliable Legislature have created Haley’s dilemma by shredding revenue sharing. They are complicit in killing the program by hacking away at the 5 percent provided in the original legislation. LePage wants to entirely do away with revenue sharing this year. Now our schools and we the homeowners are suffering the consequences.

From the Portland Press Herald: “Municipal officials argued such (revenue sharing) reductions merely force them to cut services or raise property taxes year after year. They testified in support of two bills — L.D. 133 by Democratic Sen. Shenna Bellows of Manchester and L.D. 492 sponsored by Democratic Rep. Denise Tepler of Topsham — that would restore revenue sharing at 5 percent.

“But Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake, a Turner Republican who sits on the budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, had cautionary words for his legislative colleagues as they contemplate how they will vote on the bills to return to 5 percent. ‘The question is: how are you going to fund them?’ asked Timberlake, a fiscal conservative. ‘You’re talking about raising an additional $100 million … where do you propose that this money comes from?'”

Haley’s dilemma demands we eliminate foolhardy Republican “fiscal conservatism” and restore revenue sharing.

Jim Chiddix


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