Parise wants to fight inflation and think local in House District 46


Merle Parise (photo by Evan Houk)

Newcastle farm and forest consultant Merle Parise is running for the Maine House of Representatives in District 46 to boost the economy, fight inflation and eliminate the state income tax.

House District 46 includes Bristol, Damariscotta, Monhegan Island, Newcastle and Nobleboro. Parise, R-Newcastle runs against Lydia Crafts, D-Newcastle.

Parise identifies with former Gov. Paul LePage’s plan to eliminate the state income tax by slowly lowering it over a period of years through the use of deductions, he said. LePage is running for governor again this fall against Gov. Janet Mills.

“That would be the best thing we could do in the legislature,” Parise said of eliminating the state income tax.

Parise supports LD 290, a bill that implemented a property tax stabilization program for seniors this year.

LD 290 allows certain seniors to stabilize or freeze property taxes on their homestead, according to the Maine Revenue Services website. The submission deadline is December 1st.

“When your taxes go down, they stay low,” Parise said of the bill.

Parise opposes regressive taxation, like fuel taxes, and also wants them to be eliminated or at least lowered to ease the burden of rising fuel prices on Mainers. He wants heating oil bills to be frozen later this year to cover rising costs.

“I would take the amount of money that they paid last year and cut it right there,” Parise said. “They pay for that. And the state reimburses the energy companies for the rest.”

Parise acknowledges that many people are struggling with inflation and high energy prices, and he wants to help if elected.

“With inflation, since this time last year, you’ve worked a month for nothing,” Parise said.

He believes the government should stop flooding the economy with cash.

“We have to stop dumping all this money out there,” Parise said. “That’s the root cause of inflation.”

Regarding what he specifically wants to cut from the state budget, Parise said he needs to come into office and deal with it before making any decisions.

“I would have to see it and take a realistic look at it. It could be a general reduction,” Parise said.

Parise mentioned the “civilian employment rate,” which is 58.6% for August 2022, according to the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information. That is almost 3% less than in 2018. The employment rate describes the percentage of the population in employment.

A top priority for Parise is getting everyone back to work and “getting the economy back on its feet”.

He would like the state to encourage more vocational education, particularly in House District 46 and Lincoln County.

A large part of accommodating a workforce is affordable housing. Parise said he would like more private investment than government investment to work toward solutions.

“We have to let the market influence this situation a little bit,” Parise said.

He said encouraging cities to have more “cluster apartments,” or single-family housing units with centralized septic tank and water to reduce development costs, could help close the housing gap.

Parise is also concerned with the promotion of various agricultural methods, such as B. Using more irrigation, no-till and cover crops. He said the Legislature should push the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to expand these types of programs. The legislature can also address areas to establish permanent farmers’ markets and strengthen local food economies, he said.

“The average distance this food travels to our shelf is about 1,300 miles,” Parise said.

The forest consultant said he acknowledges climate change but explained that the models predict Maine will not warm as much as the rest of the world and precipitation shouldn’t change much.

“We will survive one way or another, but it will be difficult for us,” Parise said. “We need to plan a bit more ahead.”

Parise doesn’t think increased use of solar panels and offshore wind power is realistic to meet the state’s goal of switching to all renewable energy by 2050. He believes the solar panels are made with toxic chemicals and that wind turbines are “inefficient”.

“Most of these solar panels come from China and are made from coal mining,” Parise said. “I see it as part of the cradle-to-grave system.”

Parise said the state recently invested $19 million in federal funds to build electric vehicle charging stations across the state. He would prefer the money to be invested in the development of local transport such as rail passenger transport.

“It would create jobs right off the bat and then help alleviate the labor force problem we have. We could invite people who can’t afford to go back and forth,” Parise said.

Parise has built a career in natural resource management beginning with his education at the University of Maine. He has degrees in environmental science and policy and a degree in forestry. He also has a Masters in Climate and Society from Columbia University.

He has owned and operated his forestry consultancy, MJP Forestry, since about 1984.

Parise has owned and operated since 1983 with his wife, Dr. Christine Welch, a vet who owns the Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic, a farm in Newcastle.

“It’s important that we address these issues and find solutions that work, apply the precautionary principle and help our state,” Parise said. “I love this state, this is my state. It has the best water in the world.”

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The 2022 Midterms will take place on Tuesday 8th November.


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