What percentage of the population are elderly, children, mentally challenged, etc? and What percentage of them attribute to that 80%? Do we let them go by the wayside? I think we could most likely trim some fat of that 80%...but how much? Maine's elderly population is even higher than Florida per capita...
And it is worsening. You are insulated with your federal job. People like me are leaving and have been for generations. The ones moving in are cash rich retirees, and a diverse group of trust fund, or otherwise well off people that do not need to work. Their opinions are reshaping Maine and they have a general disdain for the locals. Partly because the locals still living in Maine are the uneducated(welfare) or in the coastal case, fisherman and harvesters of the sea and woods(cowboy attitude). I don't think you see it quite so blatantly in N. Maine, the coast is the draw. However, you will see the back to nature crowd escaping society with the fall in land prices. They are childless or homeschool, generally, and even though the taxes are miniscule compared to where they come from they get onto local boards and fight tooth and nail to stop "progress". Maine was recently put 8th on a list of the worst places to retire to, based on a number of factors. Otherwise, it would be worse. (more retirees)
When the needs of the many outstrip the ability of the few workers(non parasite workers) to pay, something has to give. And I have given plenty due to being "successful". I continue to pay stupid high taxes for nothing in return, the privilege of owning land in Maine I guess, and will continue until they sell or are taken for non payment of taxes. I own one 6 acre parcel of just land that has cost me more in taxes then it is valued at. What is the wisdom of keeping it or fairness in that? The list of people in the town report for non payment of taxes is higher then ever seen. (East Machias) Maine has reached that point I believe.
I find your attitude interesting knowing what I know about the decline in N. Maine. Loring/Caribou, Millinocket mill closings, Houlton shriveling, Presque Isle was doing ok I thought, but it is the center of the county economy wise so anything happening (gov. agencies = false economy) is happening there. Machias is like that. The tax base is fleeing fast in N. Maine and the communities show it. You can buy a 3 bedroom house with 2 car garage for nothing in Millinocket.
You ask if I could trim the fat at DHS? Yes, I know that gov. agencies build empires around themselves to insulate themselves from cuts. I know a girl that sets and plays games all day because they have nothing to do. I saw federal employees play Doom all day long because they had nothing to do. My sister in law is in the social services business in Maine and even she is coming around to the conservative side, based on her experiences. Once the cancer has grown, it has to be removed entirely. There is no magic bullet or chemo that will go in and just get rid of the bad ones. A complete rebuild of the DHS in Maine is necessary. Parasites need to be controlled or they take over. That is why when Lepage took over, they dug in their heels and tried to make it hurt on his watch, just like local school boards always cut popular things like sports to get what they want from the public. Even though the sports were miniscule in the budget or made money(basketball). Same as union techniques.
Do you disagree with my opinion that the state has mandated many things with promises attached and reneged on the promise? If so, I suggest you get involved politically and learn from people that have been involved for some time.(40 to 50 years) Another great example is the funding formula for school reimbursement. The southern part of the state and bigger towns just "changed" the formula's and screwed the little towns. They had no political clout to stop it. With LePage, they got it reversed. What will happen with him gone? Any bets?
Just a few points for you to research,
The state changed the funding formula to benefit larger schools. East Machias led the fight and even had small towns send them money(unsolicited) to help defray the cost incurred from their own pockets of the selectman(Kenneth Davis), the school board chairman(Mike Look) and the superintendent(Scott Porter). They drove to Augusta for years and put up with all the tactics to stall, deflect, lie, divert, and get them to give up. Calling meetings out of the blue, canceling them after they drove down(3 1/2 hrs.) Just good solid democracy at work.
The state raised valuations on property, especially coastal towns, because the school reimbursement is based on population and valuation. Higher valuation decreases reimbursement as populations were falling rapidly. Coastal towns got hammered.
The tree growth reimbursement was never honored or fully funded as promised.
The transportation reimbursement for busing was never honored or funded as promised.
The same East Machias contingent beat the state over the consolidation legislation put through by the Socialist, errrr Democrats that penalized towns for not consolidating when it was monetarily and practically not beneficial. The one size rule did not fit all communities and they did not care.