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October 14, 2010

Education, local control and taxes

Richard Sibley Lenfest

Anytime the Maine media rains terms such as "taxes," "economy," "business climate" and "jobs," among others, upon the voters and taxpayers of Maine, Libby Mitchell runs for cover under her education umbrella. The fact, and it is fact, is that Maine is already among the nation's leaders in education spending.

Maine's population of approximately 1.5 million residents, like that of neighboring New Hampshire, is among the smallest in the nation, yet Maine's education spending ranks among the highest, ahead of many much larger states, and in the vicinity of the top 20 to 25 percent. Exact position may change incrementally from year to year; nevertheless, Maine is right up there. Do not take my word; go online, visit the Web and check it out yourself.

Maine's economy is just about non-existent. Five years ago, after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, it was Maine that had the worst economy in the U.S. During the 2010 primary season, the figure that was popular and which met no argument from any other politician was that Maine had gained just 65 jobs in the past decade.

Yes, the Maine economy is shedding jobs as fast as it is creating them. While the Maine economy may be somewhat better off at this time, it is in no position to foot Libby's brand of education spending.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at October 14, 2010 1:10 AM
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