There are two bills before the current Maine Legislature for consideration:
LD 597, An act to increase paid public health insurance benefits to retired teachers, and
LD 680, An act to provide fully paid health insurance benefits to retired teachers.
How much more do the educators expect can be extracted from the Maine taxpayers?
The costs for education are already a tremendous burden to local, state and federal taxes. The salaries of the teachers rank well up among the better paying professions. The fringe benefits likewise rate highly compared to the general average. The salaries are paid for a work year of 180 days compared to about 260 for the general industrail workers. Housing costs in Maine undoubtedly are lower than would be available in the more industrialized states. Property and sales taxes in Maine are among the highest in the nation.
I believe my wife and I represent a fair example of the tax paying property owners in Maine. Both of us have been retired for more than 20 years, consequently never had the opportunity to enjoy the higher salaries and income of those retiring in later years. My wife has Social Security from private enterprise, and I from Railroad Retirement. Our pensions are modest compared to those we hear about from retired teachers.
More than one-half of our local property tax goes for education, plus portions of the taxes we pay for sales tax, state and federal income taxes.
We have Medicare and private health insurance which costs us nearly $3,000 a year from Medicare “B” premiums and our private health insurance policies.
We feel strongly that retiring teachers are much more able to pay for their own health insurance than to take more out of the pockets of the tax paying public who are not involved in the educational fields. Max E. Place Milo