This week, ClickBack considers some Maine-based issues: budget cuts, an apparently racist swipe at President-elect Barack Obama by a Standish store, sentences for convicted arsonists and the lobster industry struggles.
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Where should state cuts be focused?
Last week, Gov. John Baldacci issued an order to cut $80 million in state spending in coming months. According to revenue projections, lawmakers will have to cut a total of $150 million by June 30. Was the governor right to cut so much from health and human services and local school funding? What other areas should be targeted for funding cuts? Should an increase in taxes be considered to balance the budget?
Should the state condemn the Standish ‘Obama pool’?
A sign in a Standish convenience store promoted a pool to bet on when President-elect Barack Obama would be assassinated. What is the appropriate reaction to such sentiments? Public figures from the governor to legislators have condemned the sign, which was mentioned in national news stories. Is a legislative resolution that Maine doesn’t tolerate such actions enough? Should those who oppose Mr. Obama be able to air their views no matter how offensive?
Should convicted arsonists face stiffer prison sentences?
On Friday, Ashton Moores was found guilty of raping and murdering a Bangor woman and likely will spend the rest of his life in prison. But many wonder why he was not in prison when he committed the crimes. Moores was convicted of arson in 1966, 1972, 1981 and 1993. In one of the fires Moores set, a man died. Should arson carry with it a minimum sentence? How long should it be? Should arson be considered as serious as manslaughter, even if no one is injured in the crime?
Are you ready for the lobster diet?
Maine’s lobstermen are still struggling due to low prices. If you’ve had your fill of turkey, would you now consider a lobster dinner to help out this iconic Maine industry? What more can be done – short of buying up tons of lobster – to encourage people around the country to buy more of the crustaceans? Should Congress pass a lobster bailout?