This week’s ClickBack focused on the state budget and a church where smoking marijuana is considered a sacrament. Here are some responses.
Balancing the budget, in the face of declining revenues, will be a major focus of the 124th Legislature. Where should they cut?
There are about 200 school superintendents in Maine; even with consolidation there will still be too many – and a lot of them earn big bucks, even out in the boonies. There are too many legislators; try a unicameral Legislature with three people from each county, make it a paid position with term limits. Cut one-half of the administrators in the university system. Keep trying to impress on the feds that large and heavy trucks belong on the Interstate; they are tearing up a lot of roads like Routes 2 and 11 for starters. Think how much rebuilding-paving dollars could be saved.
We need to re-evaluate the total compensation packages for public employees in the context of both base pay and benefits. Public employee unions are fond of comparing base salaries in the private and public sectors, but ignore the huge givebacks of benefits that have happened in the private sector. Public employees today enjoy health benefits that not even General Motors or CitiGroup can afford.
The first cuts should be within state government at the very top. Administration cuts at the university system are also good, but it should coincide with an increase in educators. The cuts proposed now would reduce student enrollment, which is counter-productive.
As for trucks tearing up the secondary roads – if a trailer needs to be pulled more than eight hours, put it on a train. A tax credit for every mile on a train would cost the state less than the repairs on the roads.
How about starting school mid-August until Thanksgiving? Then return to school in January until mid-April. Return the first week of May until the Fourth of July. The savings in heating oil alone could buy a lot of pencils.
If a state-funded entity (schools, medical, offices, police) wants to invest in wind, solar, biofuels, etc., the state should fund them for the savings. Imagine the potential for the flat, empty space on every school in the state. If the state bids out the solar contract with a proviso that the panels are built and assembled in Maine, we have just added revenue and jobs.
All state contracts need to be in the state of Maine. Why are we supporting companies from outside the state to paint white lines of Bangor streets or advertise the services of the local airport?
Members of the Temple of Advanced Enlightenment in Bangor consider smoking marijuana a sacrament. They must also perform community service and are considering providing medical marijuana to people who need it but can’t get it legally. Would Jesus approve?
I don’t know whether my Lord and Savior Jesus would approve or disapprove of the Temple of Advanced Enlightenment members calling marijuana a sacrament, but their possibly giving it to people who medically need it seems quite Christian. “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you must likewise do unto them. This, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.” – Matthew 7:12 (New World Translation). So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
Peyote was only protected in a few states as a sacrament. The United States further protected this by extending this exemption through all 50 states. With over 300,000 members, the Native American Church has helped curve the abuse and misuse of peyote, protecting it as sacred. Peyote has never become a widespread problem. Its spiritual use is highly respected and protected.
By supporting us, you need not condone what we do. We do not sell drugs. We practice privately and teach responsibility, tolerance and moderation. We encourage young adults to participate in community-based volunteering at every opportunity. We are proactive against drug abuse. We are not anti-government or anti-DEA; quite the opposite – we want to work together with local agencies to ensure the safety of our communities.
To see the full responses and join the discussion, go to bangordailynews.com and look for ClickBack on the Opinion tab. New questions will be posed online and in Tuesday’s Bangor Daily News.