One of the Joint Charter Commission’s favorite terms is “Economic Headwinds.”
Lewiston and Auburn are headed into severe, and increasing, economic headwinds, according to Gene Geiger, JCC Chair. If the voters of both cities agree to accept the JCC’s “Consolidation Agreement”, the cities will be better prepared to confront those impediments to prosperity.
What Mr. Geiger fails to mention is that the reason why Maine is encountering headwinds is that state government, with business conducted in Augusta under the newly refurbished dome of the State Capitol, is the prime impediment to prosperity in Maine.
Maine has a very unfriendly business environment. The tax burden is very high, ranked in the top ten in the nation. High tax burdens stifle economic development as businesses elect to move to less burdensome states. Energy costs in Maine are extremely high. The weather is harsh for at least a quarter of a year. The state is rather sparsely populated, with many miles between population centers.
None of these problems can be defeated by a merged city. None.
The JCC is pointing out a real problem for Maine, but offers no solution --- especially when a larger city is all they can bring to the table.