DATE: 3/30/2004 09:18:00 AM
Eastern Paper - If the latest attempt at a deal to keep Eastern Paper doesn't work, Governor Baldacci should give it up. The state has already exhausted its contingency funds to maintain the property, and will soon begin borrowing funds from bond issue accounts. I understand that the closing of the Lincoln and Brewer mills would be hard on the economy and tax bases of both towns, but eventually one has to admit defeat on the issue and stop throwing good money at a dying industry.
Instead of spending money to keep dying industries alive, Baldacci should be focusing the state on how it can change its business practices to attract new industry. Maybe it would mean lowering taxes, fixing worker's compensation and getting rid of unnecessary regulation. In the short term, the state may lose some tax money. Some entitlement programs may need to be curtailed. But considering it's short-term thinking that got us in this mess in the first place, an approach that looks past immediate needs may be the answer.