Medicare and Social Security
While these are both much bigger topics than the house of representatives in Maine, they are indirectly tackled by property taxes being straightened out. The State is now paying its mandated share of 55% (finally, because it’s supposed to have been at that level since 2004 until 2019 when it compromised to 49.5% in straight opposition to a citizens initiative) and property taxes have an opportunity to not shoulder the full burden of educating our students. Ensuring that revenue sharing is set to the full 5% would also offset our school funding issues, and if we really cared about educational outcomes for all our students, we’d explore decoupling school funding from property taxes all together.
There is an ‘first principles’ positive feedback loop of:
↳High property values
↳Well funded schools
↳Families moving to that town
↳Property values increasing.↺
It's obviously not this simple, but this observation is a place to start the conversation.
Continuing to push our federally elected officials to work toward repealing the GPO (Government Pension Offset) and the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) would also a priority of mine. These two programs are relics of simpler time and whatever the cost, they are costing people money that they earned.
Both solar issues and divestment from fossil fuels are serious issues that are affecting our state and our planet. When I was last in Australia 7 years ago visiting my father, the Great Barrier Reef of my childhood, and that we all saw in Finding Nemo, was in crisis. Climate change is real and is happening at an alarming rate. We are lucky to have a solar company in our district, in Hiram. The voting record of our legislator has affected their ability to do their job and it has impacted the investment and adoption of solar and green technologies that we need to be making.
Three years ago, I had panels installed on my roof. A modest investment has all but eliminated my electricity bill while still being connected to the grid for off hour usage and the process was quite straightforward. I’ve seen the recent increases in power bills through my work as the treasurer of the Porter Grange, but at my home, with my solar panels, my power bill hasn’t changed at all. The idea of residential and municipal solar needs to be looked at, even in our northern climate.
Mainecare / Medicaid Expansion
As we saw 3 years ago, medicaid expansion was voted through by citizens initiative. It was only through obstruction that our previous legislators and governor felt the right to veto the will of the voters. 70,000 of our poorest Mainers were denied health insurance and thankfully that was fixed in 2018. This line of thinking doesn’t even save money because whatever it would cost in up front payments would be saved by people not using ER’s as their first resort for medical treatment. Like any of our grandmothers would have said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The Opioid Crisis
Maine, along with the rest of the country, is facing a serious issue with opioid addiction. How to tackle it is a very difficult question, but last year Maine lost more than 1 person per day to this problem. We need to explore all solutions. When I was in Augusta with the “Stand Up For Students” movement 6 years ago there was a motion in the senate to explore the “Fix Rooms” that are present in Norway and Vancouver. These approaches have drastically reduced overdose deaths because users have had much more immediate access to treatment. We need to accept that our citizens are struggling and offer help, not continue the policies of the past and look down on addicts as if their issues are because of some moral failure.
© 2018-2022 Nathan R.L. Burnett,