To all Maine teachers and other State employees,
As you head to the polls for the June 12th primary to cast a vote for one of the two Democrats running for the State Senate in District 5, I hope that everyone remembers a vote that took place during the 123rd Legislative session in 2008. The bill, LD 1693 “An Act to Restore Equity to the Maine State Retirement System” otherwise known as the “Cliff Correction Bill” was killed by the Appropriations Committee during the final hours of the legislative session. This bill would have corrected the injustice that Gov. McKernan and the legislature did to Maine teachers and state employees in 1993. Most educators and state employees who had not completed at least 10 years of service by July 1993 will not need a history lesson to remember how then-Gov. McKernan raided the state retirement fund in order to balance the state budget. In doing so, he created two tiers of employees, with different retirement ages, different penalties for early retirement, and different waiting periods for cost-of-living increases after retirement.
Fast forward to 2008 and LD 1693. The bill is before State Representative Linda Valentino and the Appropriations Committee. After two years of working with the MSEA, the Retirement System Board and the Labor Committee, LD 1693 would have been a great start to correcting the inequity which began with Gov. McKernan. Rep. Valentino, however, defied leadership and joined six Republicans in voting against the bill.
So, on June 12th, join me in showing Rep. Valentino that we haven’t forgotten how she voted against our Maine teachers and State employees. Vote for Don Pilon for State Senate in District 5, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Dayton, Buxton, and Biddeford Wards 6 & 7.
Signed,Katherine Auclair, Saco, ME
Rae Cote, Saco, ME
Barbara Pendleton, Saco, ME
There are many important issues facing the State of Maine at this election time.
We have talented business leaders in Maine, and organizations that can and should work together to address obstacles facing our state. We need to identify those leaders and draw them into our decision-making process. In order to attract and grow businesses, we need to reduce energy costs, create a more efficient and cost effective transportation system, and provide incentives to start-ups and relocations. We already have a work force with a widely recognized work ethic. We need to broaden the levels of trained workers to include more managers, administrators and educators with advanced degrees.
With cutbacks in funding to our state colleges and university, I'm concerned that our students will not have adequate course content available to them to meet the demand of the job markets ahead of them. Potential results of those cuts could be that students will not be be able to afford to attend our state schools. Many may be forced to forego higher education, or will leave Maine to be educated, which naturally creates the possibility that they won't return. We need their talent.
In addition, this administration has loosened environmental controls, believing that businesses will be attracted to Maine if there are fewer restrictions. We must guard against a short-sighted approach which could have long term detrimental effects on the State of Maine and its economy.
Local Taxes and Fees
With State budgets being cut and the decrease in funding to municipalities, cities and towns in Senate District 5 (and others) are being forced to increase taxes and fees and or reduce services at the local level to fund their own budgets, services, and schools. It is well-known that Maine has one of the oldest populations in the country. If taxes and fees go up, more of our seniors may lose their homes or be forced to decide between paying their taxes and paying for their health needs. We can't afford to endanger this population. That's not the Maine way.
© Don Pilon for State Senate