The Musings of

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Friday, June 10, 2005

10 minutes with : Dissolution Solution

Today's story dealt with the Unorganized Territory ("UT"), the unincorporated sparsely inhabited area of northern Maine. Incorporated towns in the region are choosing to dissolve their corporate identity and join the UT due to rising taxes. In doing so, these communities are abandoning local self-government and relying on state legislature to act in their behalf.

The state government provides all government services for UT residents for much less expense because the costs are spread out among all of the residents of the UT. The irony here is that the state legislature is the main culprit behind the dissolution of these towns. Recent laws have contributed to the raising of taxes by forcing towns to hire for such positions as animal control officer and code compliance officers. While such costs could be easily diffused among 10,000 people, they provide a serious burden on 100 taxpayers.

Way to go, Maine. It's not often you get to see a state government regulate it's own history out of existence. I would attribute this whole thing as an attempt by the state legislature to make a grab for more representative power if it weren't for the following 2 things: (1) having towns dissolve brings no real benefit to the legislature but it does provide additional administrative headaches and (2) I have never known a state legislator forward-thinking enough to plan for this eventuality. Nonetheless, Maine's legislators should feel a little bit chagrined for regulating these towns out of existence, even if it was an unintended consequence.

It's the people of small-town Maine who I feel sorry for. By dissolving, these thinly-populated areas are losing a bit of their communal nature. However, I can't fault them for making a rational decision considering the lure or cutting property taxes by 1/2 to 2/3.

I guess taxes and regulations do have real world effects. Shocking.
Centinel 2:41 PM #


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