Kathleen Szostek: Student loan forgiveness is an insult to many Maine residents

As a real estate agent in Maine for 19 years, I am well aware of the power of home ownership. It is at the heart of the American dream and has always been a vehicle for creating wealth.

Plus, there’s a sense of ownership. By creating a house.

While I enthusiastically support home ownership, I am appalled by the recent passing of DL 1978 by the Democratic legislature. This bill provides “up to $40,000 in student debt forgiveness” for those looking to buy a home in Maine. The projected cost is $10 million to Maine ratepayers. This is so wrong in so many ways.

First, it sends an unrealistic and dangerous message: when you buy something, you are not obligated to honor that debt. It is an attack on self-responsibility. It fosters an unhealthy dependence on government.

Second, this bill insults those who have made the decision to go to college and have recognized their duty to pay for it. Some have already paid. Others chose to forgo a college education, thereby avoiding excessive debt. Do they also deserve “pardon”?

Third, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Yes, affordability is an issue in today’s inflated housing market. But the solution is better jobs to keep our young people in the state. Maine needs to be made business friendly.

I ask the Legislative Assembly to streamline the laws that make it beneficial for businesses to locate here. There is no better gift than to offer a job – not a handout.

Kathleen Szostek, Dixfield

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