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Enough is Enough: Should General Assistance from Maine taxpayers be spent out of state?

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

They swooped down from the North. They swarmed up from the South. Surged in from the West and streamed in from the East. Their destination was Maine’s capital, Augusta. All had very pressing business at the State House.
If you had business in the capital city last Thursday, you probably experienced difficulty getting off Augusta’s I-95 exits (both North and South) and experienced unusually heavy traffic and delays on Western Avenue.
No, President Donald Trump was not paying a social visit to Governor Paul LePage. There were no high-profile celebrities in town. For many of those coming to Augusta, the threat of a severe change in their lifestyle hovered like the sword of Damocles above their heads. Gasp!

They may no longer be able to use their Maine General Assistance (welfare) benefits out of state. Oh, the horror!
This bill will be debated in a legislative committee for many hours. Opponents of the bill will present a cornucopia of victims testifying to how this bill will adversely affect them. Worse, their stories will fall on sympathetic legislators’ ears. And what will the end result be?
Taxpayers should take a step back and think about what this bill is looking to accomplish. It does not take or reduce the amounts of assistance given to those on our General Assistance rolls. It only forbids them from using these benefits out of state. As a Maine taxpayer whose money is being doled out to these wards of the state, how do you feel?
This is benchmark legislation. It will clearly show if your local legislator is representing your interests or those of the many special interest groups advocating for more welfare and those on General Assistance.
We will remember in November of 2018.

To the chagrin of all my progressive social-engineering critics and their snowflake minions, our policy of removing blighted buildings from Lewiston’s landscape has proven very successful.
Last Thursday I had a conversation with Mayor David Rollins of Augusta. He had just been informed that because of shortage of housing in Lewiston and Portland, 90 refugee families were going to be resettled in Augusta. This news is a body blow to those locally who make a living off the poor, but great news for Lewiston’s property taxpayers.
Fighting for their cushy jobs and job titles, which in their minds make them feel important, these local activists counter that the tearing down of these houses is costing Lewiston a loss in tax revenue. This appears on its face to be a powerful argument.
Let’s make this simple and direct. Let’s take the average three-story, multi-bedroom building in downtown Lewiston and place an inflated tax bill of $10,000 on the property. If each building houses four school-age children, which costs Lewiston $9,000 per pupil, that equates to $36,000. Thus, the school expenses exceed the tax revenue by $26,000.
If any of these pupils are in need of special education services, it could cost taxpayers $20,000, $40,000. or $100,000 to provide for each of their educations. Add to this other social service costs, and if you were a private business, you would soon be out of business.
Now the argument, by our “government is everything” friends, is that the city will be reimbursed by the state and federal governments. True. But remember: any money from the government comes from you, the taxpayers.
Lastly, the policies of the last five years will soon be replaced by low- or no-income housing projects, compliments of Ben Chin and the Maine Peoples Alliance.

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