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Maine News

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Maine News for Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Portland Press Herald

Shortfall to force difficult choices
State House: The options are to cut spending deeply, dip into savings, increase taxes -- or a combination.

Poll calls for less spending rather than tax increase
Critics say following that advice would jeopardize crucial social services.

Senate looks to reform consumer safety agency
The legislation follows last year's recalls of children's toys and other products.

With time running out, Clinton bets it all today
ANALYSIS: Convincing wins would give the New York senator a strong argument to keep campaigning.

Bush budget cut could hurt Maine woods
Forest-management programs in the state could lose more than half their federal funding.

Maine gets low score for government
Its agencies are not held accountable in making their budget requests, the Pew Center says.

Bills could strengthen lawmakers' ethics rules
State House 2008: The Senate president says her bill is a response to Maine's poor rating for its disclosure requirements.

Editorial: Gift card cash-out bill would put money where it belongs
Consumers should be able to keep the last few dollars of store credit.

Column: Moderate Manifesto seeks tax solution
We can ease the heavy burden that weakens Maine's economic health and drives people away.

Column: Unsafe roads demand higher priority
Too much state spending has shifted to Medicaid, at the expense of needs like roads and bridges.


LTE: Allow individuals to defend themselves

LTE: Our business leaders have sold out American public

LTE: Defense spending wasteful allocation of resources

Bangor Daily News

Legislative battle centers on alewives
AUGUSTA, Maine - With its oily texture, bony flesh and homely appearance, the river herring doesn’t seem like the kind of fish to inspire love or hatred, much less political feuds.

Superdelegate with Maine ties ineligible
The superdelegate vote of former Maine Gov. Kenneth Curtis won't count, according to a Democratic National Committee official.

Trying economic times pinch East Machias couple
EAST MACHIAS, Maine - A few years ago, things were going along just fine for Norma and Randy Stoddard, financially speaking.

Editorial: Trade Winners, Losers
At a recent debate, Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton argued about the efficacy of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, with each trying to paint the other as favoring the agreement.

Editorial: Real ID, Real Foolishness
Despite many unresolved problems, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to threaten sanctions against residents of states that do not move toward compliance with the Real ID Act, which sets tighter standards for driver's licenses.

Opinion: Thomas J. Gaffney : Hope and Charity need our faith in hard times
In these difficult economic times, I know the good people of Maine care deeply about those living with us who are unable to care for themselves. Surely people have been alarmed by the staggering cuts in federal money for MaineCare services, especially at a time when the need is growing and our ability to serve is diminishing.

Kennebec Journal

Legislation would require disclosure of finances, conflicts of interest for lawmakers
AUGUSTA -- Lawmakers would have to disclose more about their financial ties, and citizens could lodge complaints directly with the ethics commission, under bills sponsored by the Senate president and House speaker.

AUGUSTA -- Maine's growing budget problems are setting the stage for a debate over whether the state should raise taxes, or rely exclusively on spending cuts and withdrawals from the state's saving account.

Panel finds discrimination in 5 job actions
AUGUSTA -- The Maine Human Rights Commission found reasonable grounds to believe a local oil company discriminated against a disabled employee by firing her while she was hospitalized.

Editorial: Alewives, bass live in harmony; re-open St. Croix Sportfishing guides still oppose lifting ban, despite scientific study that shows no impact
The eastern Maine hamlet of Grand Lake Stream, set among sparkling lakes deep in the emerald woods of the St. Croix River watershed, has long been at the center of a battle over two kinds of fish: alewives and bass.

Column: After Plum Creek: Visions of northern Maine's future How we decide is as important as what we decide In the year 2028, how will our public institutions and private owners shape decisions in northern Maine? What does "smart growth" in the large areas of northern Maine mean in the long term? How do we build long-term livelihoods without trashing the place?

LTE: Go after fraud in Maine; think of the savings
People who hold office in this state should put into play some real easy cost-saving plans. Plans to save money instead of taking from the people who need help.

Sun Journal

Congressional hopeful is home on 2-week leave
SCARBOROUGH (AP) - Navy reservist Charles Summers, a candidate for the open seat in the 1st Congressional District, is in Maine on a 15-day leave during his 10-month tour of duty in Iraq..

Poll: Mainers don't want higher taxes
PORTLAND - Mainers are rejecting temporary tax increases and fee increases to fill a projected budget gap that has ballooned to nearly $200 million, according to a poll released Monday.

Lawmaker wants change in cribbage gaming law
AUGUSTA - A 34-year-old law affecting some of Maine's most passionate cribbage players is due for an update, according to Rep. John Patrick.

LTE: Reducing conflict
As members of the Wind Power Task Force, we appreciate the support in your Feb. 20 editorial ("Wind report a blow for Redington"), but note that it fails to address the task force's commitment to the governor's directive to guide development to appropriate areas.


Poll: No New Taxes As budget negotiators in Augusta continue work to close a combined shortfall of 190 million dollars, some legislative leaders are considering new taxes to raise additional money. But according to a poll released today, Mainers say they are irrevocably opposed to tax increases as a budget-balancing solution. A.J. Higgins reports.

Senate President Opts For Increased Public Disclosure More should be done to increase public confidence in state government. That's the view of Maine Senate President Beth Edmonds, who today presented a Bill to broaden transparency in government. Tom Porter has more.

Debate Resumes Over Alewife Restoration On the St. Croix The spring alewife run is still a couple of months away, but a proposal aimed at bolstering populations of small river herring in the St. Croix River watershed drew a roomful of people to the Augusta Civic Center today. Proponents say restoring the once-abundant alewife runs would have broad ecological benefits, but local fishing guides say alewives harm the smallmouth bass that bring anglers to downeast lakes. Murray Carpenter reports.

Morning Sentinel

From the Editor
Susan Collins campaign video that showed Iraq War protesters burning flags, and also showed a separate image of US Rep. Tom Allen — Collins' opponent.

Bar Harbor Times

Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport gets TSA reimbursement The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has notified U.S. Senator Susan Collins that the agency has agreed to her request that it reimburse the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport $30,000 for security personnel expenses that were incurred due to federal security requirements.

The Courier-Gazette

GOP hopefuls announce for state seats A Republican candidate has announced for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Christopher Rector, R-Thomaston. And a second Republican has come forward in the House seat that includes Waldoboro.

Brunswick Times Record

Bath woman in running to become a superdelegate
Tom Allen and Mike Michaud are among Maine's superdelegates. If the nationwide delegate count is close, the superdelegates could tip the scales in support

The Camden Herald

Shaw to run as Republican for Camden-Rockport ROCKPORT — Knox County Republicans announced Monday afternoon, March 3, that Helen Shaw of Rockport will run for the Maine House of Representatives District 46 seat being vacated by Rep. Dave Miramant, D-Camden.

Weekly Observer

Severe winter poses new challenges, new solutions for many seniors

It's not just the weather that's posing extra challenges to Maine seniors this year. With icy roads, rising fuel costs and fixed incomes, many elderly residents are virtually trapped in frigid homes they can't afford to heat. Full Story Includes Photographs

Earthtimes, UK

AHCA, Alliance Praise Bipartisan Johnson, Collins Letter Urging
today praised a new bipartisan letter from US Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND)

ACLU (press release), NY

MCLU Blasts Sen. Susan Collins for Pandering to the Bush
ACLU (press release), NY - 17 hours ago
Portland, ME – The Maine Civil Liberties Union condemned a letter sent by Senator Susan Collins today that attempts to pressure Governor John Baldacci into


As Maine Goes
Collins Says Time Is Now For Health Care Reform
‘All of us should hold public hearings and get the very best ideas that we can. We should consider everything, every idea out there.’

Report: A Large Majority of Mainers Want Cuts, Not Taxes Six in ten Mainers would recommend the state audit, consolidate, or cut spending to address the budget shortfall. • Eight in ten Mainers would somewhat or strongly oppose increasing taxes temporarily to address the budget shortfall.

Dem Sen. Pres. Edmonds Can Support Balancing State Budget with ‘New Revenue’ ‘As I've said before, after 7 years, we have cut all the fat. Now we are down to muscle and bone.’

Strimling's 25-Cent Deposit Per Light Bulb

Maine News

Cummings: Dems Shut GOP Out of Budget Making Process - As Maine Goes Forum "Speaker Cummings is telling us Republican legislators will have no input on repairing the State Budget that isn't first Democrat-approved."

Politicker Maine

Bill creates pathway for citizens to complain about their legislators

Maine House Speaker Glenn Cummings, D-Portland, is pushing legislation to redefine conflict of interest, undue influence and abuse of office in state government.

Edmonds: Expand public disclosure

Senate President Beth Edmonds wants to give lawmakers a few more forms to fill out.

She presented a bill to increase public disclosure to the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee Monday, which would require legislators and executive branch officials to disclose the following:

CD1 candidates discuss the economy

Five candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District seat debated Sunday morning in Cornish, discussing the economy, health care and global warming.

Turn Maine Blue

Susan Collins calls for health care reform This is really so precious: a woman that has been the No. 1 dirty water carrier for the Cheney/Bush regime, that didn't perform even the slightest oversight as BILLIONS were stolen from our Treasury, a woman that should be owed a favor or two from the people that she has worked so diligently to enable and protect, ought to have a chit or two to cash in.

Being for or against something isn't enough But one distinction I think we need to understand -- and something I talked about yesterday -- is that just being for or against something isn't enough. And just electing Democrats isn't enough. Although most of the bad decisions and misplaced priorities we've seen over the last seven years have come out of the Bush Administration with the cooperation of a Republican Congress, the truth is Democrats have sometimes voted on the wrong side of important issues.

ME-1: Sacopee Valley Community Forum Sunday morning the candidates running to replace Tom Allen in the 1st District gathered for the Sacopee Valley Community Forum. This story in the Portland Press Herald sums it up:. The eight candidates are vying to replace Democratic