One of the things you hear Gene Geiger, Chair, Joint Charter Commission, drone on and on about are the "economic headwinds" that the cities of Lewiston and Auburn are facing. He claims that a merger will somehow. magically indeed, help overcome those "headwinds" and usher in a new era of prosperity on the banks of the mighty Androscoggin.
Sadly, Maine has the 44th median income in the United States. New Hampshire, our neighboring state, has the highest median income in these United States. If you go to a high point of land in Lewiston or Auburn, and look to the northwest on a clear day, you can actually see New Hampshire from here.
What happened? Why and how can this be?
The economic headwinds blowing into Maine are mostly are own doing. We send legislators to Augusta every election cycle who ignore the fact that high income tax rates, and high sales taxes, are a killer to prosperity. These taxes are beyond the control of governments in Lewiston and Auburn. They would continue to be beyond the control of the government of the merged city.
Here we see a classic "false choice." Mr. Geiger says we have two choices to face the economic headwinds. Vote for the merger = fight the headwinds. Vote against the merger = continue to be buffeted by economic headwinds. The reality is that, unless we get the tax and spenders out of Augusta, the headwinds will continue to howl.