By Rep. Tomas Tyler
It’s summer time, a state budget no one appears to like, 81 vetoes with six overrides and hot issues like military recruiters in schools. For legislators in the 126th legislature it is time to take a deep breath and reflect on what we went through for six months while looking forward to the second session in 2014. As having the experience in the 117th legislature, I can say this session reminds me of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or the Runaway Mine Train. As for the budget I, like many others, was not really happy with the final product.
However, I could not accept the removing of revenue sharing for the towns in one fell swoop. Not that I like the concept, but forcing towns and cities to adjust in one year I thought was too much to ask of them. My concern of raising taxes is strong, however many on the other side of the isle wanted 6 percent sales and 9 percent lodging plus put income taxes to pre 125th legislature levels. That would have increased our tax burden to nearly $400 million. As it is we accepted roughly $190 million. What did I like about the budget, a small one time increase in pay for state workers after nothing for seven years, additional funding for schools, plus continued funding in drugs for the elderly. Overall the state needs to seriously look at how we fund programs like Department of Human Services and Education the two largest users of our tax dollars. It is time we make some major changes to these programs and get us on track to better use funds to help the people who really need our help and drive our education system to much higher levels.
It is summertime in our great state, time to get out and enjoy the beauty of what surrounds us. From the fairs to the beaches or just working in your gardens, I hope you all get to enjoy the short season. For me it is time to do a little fishing, gripe about the weeds in my garden and take a couple of weeks on a trip later this summer. My wife and I both love the fairs and from that I expect we will be at a number of them throughout the state. We have had some very hot days so protect yourself from the heat and the sun. Sunburn is not a good thing, believe me I know from firsthand experience what it can do to your skin over time. Please stay safe and have a happy, healthy summer and fall.
If I can be of any help with state issues do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 894-5576.
Thank you for allowing me to serve the citizens of Windham and Gray.