State Report ME 1: Maine Report for the Free State Project
This report is presented in two parts. Part One offers the items of general interest, the demographics and an overview of the vitality and variety of life in Maine. In Part One there are many links to pertinent websites. I hope you will enjoy these as much as I did. Feel free to linger awhile. Part Two is more directly focused on concerns of the Free State Project and is a comparison of the four eastern states.
Maine was at one time part of Massachusetts. It became its own state in 1820, becoming the 23rd state admitted to the United States of America, although its northern borders were not finalized until 1842. Below is a link to a brief but easily readable historical review: http://www.state.me.us/sos/kids/allabout/historydetail.htm.
This is a link to an untold number of facts about Maine: http://www.maine.gov/portal/facts_history/facts.html.
Meanwhile, here is a brief overview:
Population of Maine in 2000: 1,274,923
Land Area: 33,215 square miles
Length of Coastline: 3,500 miles
Lakes and Ponds: 6,000
Forest: 17 million acres
Persons per Square Mile: 41.3
Largest City: Portland
State Capitol: Augusta
Statehood: Became the 23rd State on March 15, 1820
There is another way to discover interesting facts about Maine ... through CHILDREN'S BOOKS ABOUT MAINE.
The Maine State Constitution created Maine's government system, with three co-equal branches - the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.
The State of Maine also has three Constitutional Officers (the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and the State Attorney General) and one Statutory Officer (the State Auditor). For more information see http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/index.html.
Governor Angus King (Independent)
The Executive Branch is responsible for execution of the laws created by the legislature and is headed by the Governor. The Governor is elected every four years, and no individual may serve more than two consecutive terms in this office.
The Judicial Branch is responsible for interpreting the laws and is headed by the Supreme Judicial Court. All judicial officers are appointed by the Governor and serve a term of 7 years.
The Legislative Branch is responsible for making the laws and is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 35 members who are elected every 2 years, and the House has 151 members who are also elected every two years.
This is one of the most beautiful and impressive sites I found. It demonstrates the enormous diversity of geologic elements. Check this one out for sure.
There are nine public universities; two state training academies, a criminal justice and marine maritime; eight technical colleges; and seventeen private colleges, including Andover, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby and Maine Theological Seminary.
This link will take you to a beautiful color map of the counties.
Number of Counties: 16
Smallest county: Knox (366 sq miles)
Largest county: Aroostook: (6672 sq miles)
Counties: Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo, Washington, York
Climate & WeatherPortland, Maine
|Month||Ave. high||Ave. low||Warmest ever||Coldest ever||Ave. dew pt.||Ave. precip.|
In addition to supporting traditional industries such as agriculture, paper, commercial fishing, and shipbuilding, and many small businesses that represent Mainers' independent spirit, Maine has attracted some large new companies in the last decade. MBNA, the world's largest issuer of the Gold MasterCard and the second-largest lender through bank credit cards, selected Camden as the site for its northern regional headquarters and has opened several additional facilities in Maine. National Semiconductor, a multinational semiconductor manufacturer, selected South Portland over 25 other sites worldwide for an eight-inch wafer fabrication plant. ICT Group, one of the world's largest call center teleservice companies, opened its first call center operation in Maine during 1997, and has since opened three additional facilities in the state.
Comprehensive list of all FAA-registered airports in Maine.
- Augusta State Airport (AUG), located 1 mile from downtown Augusta.
- Bangor International Airport (BGR), located 2 miles from downtown Bangor
- Houlton International Airport (HUL)
- Knox County Regional Airport, located in Owl's Head, Rockland.
- Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle
- Portland International Jetport (PWM), located 2 miles from downtown Portland
Property taxes are the primary source of revenue for Maine's cities and towns and are used to provide local government services. The only other sources of local revenue for municipalities come from excise taxes on motor vehicles and boats and some user fees, such as parking, recreation and license fees. Maine law from using any other form of taxation to raise revenues to fund local services bars municipalities. Property taxes also fund county government, which adds about $50 million to municipal budgets statewide.
While it is true that property taxes no longer reflect on a person's ability to pay, it is nonetheless also true that property taxes in Maine are a bargain when you look at the quantity and quality of the services that the state's local governments provide.
Local government is the level of government "closest to the people." It is the level of government which citizens have the greatest access to and the most control over. It is as close as we come to self-government. However, with this right to self-govern comes the responsibility to be informed and to make thoughtful decisions that are in the best interest of all the citizens in your community. Being an active participant in municipal affairs is the responsible way to exercise this right of self-government.
Part Two: Comparison of 4 Eastern States
At this point in the FreeStateProject efforts to select a state, it is, in my view, appropriate to compare and contrast only eastern states and only western states. At another juncture we will move to comparison of eastern and western states. In other words, for now, lets compare "apples to apples" and later "apples to oranges."
The four eastern states are: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Delaware. In an attempt to make a fair comparison I devised a chart using fifteen categories and the stats from the state comparison charts on the FSP website but comparing only the eastern states to each other. None of these categories was weighted because we have no valid basis for doing so. Without true statistical research, weighting is simply a matter of personal opinion. In each category, first place received a value of 4, second place a value of 3, third place a value of 2 and fourth place a value of 1.
The categories are as follows: 1) Economic Freedom Index; 2) Highest Per Capita Income; 3) Low Violent Crimes; 4) Low Federal Land Ownership; 5) Fewest Gun Controls; 6) Livability Index; 7) Population Density per Sq. Miles; 8) Jobs Forecast; 9) Highest Votes for Conservative/Libertarian Presidential Candidate; 10) Legislative Party Balance; 11) Lowest State/Local Taxes; 12) Small Total Govt. Sect; 13) Small State/Local Govt. Sector; 14) Coastal State; 15) Foreign Border. In addition I added two categories: 16) Initiative and Referendum Process and 17) Term Limits for Legislators.
I did not add voter population or % of population voters because I strongly disagree that this is a relevant factor. In my mind there is zero degree of certainty or even probability that a smaller population is easier to influence. I feel it is much more relevant for whom the votes were cast than the number of votes cast. Had I added that category, the outcome would have varied little.
And the envelope, please: With a sub-total of the first 15 categories, New Hampshire finished first with 45 points; Maine was second with 38 points; Delaware was third with 36 points and Vermont fourth with 31 points. However, adding the final two categories listed above changed the results remarkably. Maine is the only state that has initiative and referendum process and the only one with term limits, thus receiving a 4 in each category while the others did not score. Adding these scores pushed Maine into first place ahead of New Hampshire leaving the other two in the same places. Since these categories were not truly "comparative," I decided not to officially count them, but I think they are extremely important and certainly worth mentioning.
In summary, may I say that I think Maine has many things to recommend it as a strong choice, even a first choice, among the eastern states. Let me review the positive aspects in two categories: the immutable or unchangeable and the mutable or "fixable."
In the immutable category, Maine has 3500 miles of coastline; at least 20 times that of Delaware and almost 200 times that of New Hampshire ... Vermont having none, of course. No other state in the contiguous U.S. can approach this benefit in terms of financial and aesthetic opportunities. It is unparalleled.
In addition, Maine has in excess of 500 miles of border with Canada. It seems widely accepted among this group how important this aspect is, since overall, seven states have been selected with this characteristic.
Finally, Maine has the largest land mass. Some have said that a smaller number of square miles will be advantageous and easier for us to conquer. I challenge that notion. I feel we will be very, very glad for all that territory when people from every place on the globe start flocking to our state.
When all the unjust laws have been discarded and we have set Maine free, we will be left with these three enviable characteristics and a free state in which to live. Consider this carefully.
The second category of positives, which are taken from the comparisons on the charts at the FSP website, are those that fall within the mutable category. Another way to say that is these are the aspects of the current society in Maine that have been wrought by human effort. When we choose Maine from among the four eastern states, we choose a state, which has:
- Least gun controls
- Lowest federal land ownership
- Lowest population density
- Second highest livability factor
- Second lowest violent crime rates (112 vs. Delaware's734, for example)
- Highest number votes Libertarian presidential candidate (3094)
- Second highest number votes for conservative or libertarian presidential candidate
- The only one of the four states with Initiative/Referendum process
- The only one of the four states with term limits on legislators
- The only one of the four states with 2 Republican senators and an Independent Party governor
- 5 elected Libertarians in office
Still in the mutable or "fixable" category I offer you what I consider the shortcomings we would initially encounter:
- Higher state and federal income taxes
- Sales tax
- High federal, state and local government spending
- Lower economic freedom index
- Larger government sector
I have no doubt we FreeStaters would have a challenge to face in the political and economic arena in Maine. But, did someone say this would be easy? Has "easy" ever been a consideration for people of passion and devotion to a cause? I urge you to look at the unequaled qualities of Maine's geography and the excellent attributes of Maine's livability factors as you decide among the four eastern states.
August 28, 2002
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the Free State Project, its Officers, or Directors.