The Maine Legislature is debating a proposed penny increase in the gasoline tax. The proposed increase is being sold as an opportunity to increase payments to local communities for road upkeep and to increase ferry boat serve to Frenchboro.
Published reports show the winter population on Frenchboro to be about two dozen. The islanders are divided on the need for improved ferry boat service. Yet the plan to raise the gas tax to pay for additional ferry boat runs persists.
Local communities always have their hands out for additional road maintenance subsidies. And who can blame them now that the state is enforcing a law that forces local communities to accept responsibility for state roads that are often in terrible shape.
When people decide to build and live on an island, they do so out of choice. They know what services are available. It is not the responsibility of the gasoline tax to add to those services. When the state turns aid roads over to the local community, they should do so after they have been brought up to standards. Anything less than that is cost shifting...something the governor, on the campaign trail, said he was going to stop.
In terms of per capita income, Maine still ranks in the top ten of states with the highest taxes. Enough is enough! We've got to learn to live within our means.