My plan for reopening
To the Editor;
Excessive, lengthy closures are having a devastating effect. Increased unemployment leads to poverty, hunger, domestic violence and substance abuse. We must safely open Penobscot and Androscoggin counties. I trust our business leaders to protect their customers and their workers.
We must also be respectful of others. If a business does not wish to be open, that is the business’ choice. If a person does not feel comfortable going out, especially if they are part of a more vulnerable population, then that person should stay home.
With careful management, it is possible to steer the state out of this crisis while minimizing damage and not raising income or sales taxes on hard-hit Mainers.
The state must first ensure it can care for the people directly affected by the emergency, especially those who have lost their job or are in a nursing home or need care. Then the state must stabilize the budget.
Going forward, Maine must capitalize on new opportunities, like telecommuting and online learning, to attract new business and people to get the economy moving. For example, Maine would be an excellent place to manufacture pharmaceuticals and the personal protective equipment (PPE) now manufactured in China. Lowering the income tax once the budget is stable would give our state a competitive edge.
Paul R. LePage
Former governor of Maine