The price you pay

By AL DIAMON  |  May 2, 2012

No matter whether you're a conservative Republican or a liberal Democrat, you have to believe there's a better use for $30 million than lining the pockets of Wall Street executives. The former might use that extra dough to reduce taxes. The latter could employ it to maintain social services. Either one is a more attractive option than shipping those tax dollars out of state to pay off speculators.

And let's not forget how much "companionship" you can buy for 30 large.

As Maine legislators ponder which of over $400 million in bond requests to approve this year, they should consider the value of rejecting anything intangible, unquantifiable, overly imaginative, or promising results that seem to be too good to be true. A narrowly focused bond issue for maintaining existing infrastructure, something in the neighborhood of $30 million to $50 million, makes some sense. But anything more is just adding to future budget crises.

No borrowed money for buying public lands. Our current state parks are in disrepair, conservation lands are poorly managed, and there are no funds available to remedy any of that.

Nothing for research and development, an amorphous category that devours funding faster than producing a John Carter movie. But Hollywood execs at least know where their money was wasted. The state has almost no monitoring in place to judge the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of its R&D investments.

Forget about funding new higher-education facilities. Until the University of Maine System gets its haphazard salary structure under control, it isn't capable of managing any other kinds of structures.

And this unseemly fondling of New Hampshire has got to stop. There are other ways to get cheap booze.

If I've held your interest this long, email your thoughts to

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