Opportunity Maine offers something for everyone

17 years ago

To the editor:
We are writing to express our strong endorsement and appreciation for legislature’s passage of LD 1856, known as “Opportunity Maine.” This magnificent initiative will give a tax credit to young people from Maine who decide to go to college in Maine and live and work in Maine after graduation.
    Opportunity Maine attacks two serious problems facing our state—the lack of young people going on to get a college education and the brain drain that exists when Maine college grads leave the state to find jobs. By encouraging young Mainers to attend college and stay in Maine, we will improve the economy as well as relieve tax payers by spreading the burden over more people.
This initiative cuts across partisan lines, making everyone happy. Both of us have supported this plan whole-heartedly, one as a registered Democrat, and the other as a registered Republican. The bill’s capacity to lower taxes as well as support education is something that makes everyone happy. The bipartisan aspect of this legislation shows in the legislature, too, as it passed the Maine House by a vote of 142-0. Both a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in the Maine Senate supported the bill as well in a final vote of 27-8.
We especially want to thank our County legislators for supporting the bill both on the Democratic side—Rep. Cleary of Houlton, Rep. Fischer of Presque Isle, Rep. Jackson of Allagash, Rep. Lundeen of Mars Hill, Rep. Sutherland of Chapman, Rep. Theriault of Madawaska, and Senator Martin—as well as on the Republican side—Rep. Ayotte of Caswell, and Rep. Joy of Crystal.
However, we are deeply saddened that Sen. Roger Sherman voted against this crucial piece of legislation, especially being approached by a constituent who took the time to travel to Augusta to talk to him about this issue. We are especially surprised that Sen. Sherman would vote against a bill that offers tax relief, something that is all-to-needed right now.
Opportunity Maine is something that all Mainers can appreciate, but is vital to the County youth who want to be able to get an education and afford to live and work where they have been fortunate enough to grow up. Thank you again to our local legislators who supported this bill; we look forward to seeing the governor sign it into law on Friday, June 29.

Paul Suitter, Oakfield
Dustin Brooks, Island Falls