Letters to the Portland editor: August 4, 2006

In defense of Lance
By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF  |  August 2, 2006

"There are hundreds of Maine stories waiting to be told," Kit St. John and Sarah Standiford write in criticism of Lance Tapley's coverage of state Democrats, "stories about families choosing between food and health care coverage... Maine's transitioning economy ... our children and the future."

I'd answer with a quote from Utah Phillips, "The earth is not dying. It is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses." Who is governing, who is profiting, how did things get this way, what do you mean transition, and what do you mean future? That's what Lance Tapley has been writing about. The demise of the progressive agenda, the piratization of Maine.

The state Democrats label the rollback of the Business Equipment Tax as the highlight of the past year. Large corporations profit most, wage earners and property-tax payers make up the difference, and activists get whipped into a frenzy to defeat TABOR. But tax reform is working.

Come on Charlie Brown, kick the football.

Chris Miller

The recent letters from the Blueprint Gang prompted me to run down Lance Tapley's January and July pieces that they found so disturbing (see “State House Democrats Stick It to Political Reformers” and “The Left is Reorganizing”). Fascinating stuff. Especially their organizational shenanigans and the somewhat spooky relationship with Proteus. (Why's a Massachusetts outfit so interested in Maine and Wisconsin? Who are those masked men and women?)

I need some help, however. Words by themselves don't give me too much trouble. But when they start getting connected into phrases, sometimes I feel puzzled. I'd like to focus on just one of these, if I may.

The Blueprinters list "innovative tax equity and economic development" as a public policy that would mean a better future for Mainers. What's that mean? I'll toss out a wild guess that within the Halls of Blueprint it doesn't mean the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. "Innovative" seems to imply something different (not just more of) than what we're doing now. When can we expect to hear any of these new ideas?

As for the "tax equity" part, that seems to imply that we don't have that now, and we can expect these new ideas will offer that. Even more, I'm anxious to learn what their definition of that is. Hopefully it doesn't mean quadrupling Circuit Breaker so that the few young folks that are still in Maine and have jobs can pay still more in rents or property taxes.

Then, in the same phrase, we come to "economic development." Like jobs, I hope? Apparently there's a synergy between "innovative tax equity" and jobs. We have a right to be expectant, don't you think?

To the Phoenix and Mr. Tapley: let's hear more, please! (Can't find stuff like this in Our Big Daily.)

Tom Zimmerman

Related: Stickin' it to the poor, The 10th Annual Muzzle Awards, Letters to the Portland Editor, January 20, 2006, More more >
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