The Maine Conservative Voice has often characterized the events of the past couple of years as a Conservative revolution. It is a revolution that is dearly needed for the future of this State and the future stability of the generations that reside here. It is a revolution that is still ongoing. As with all battles, those ideological and those with tangible physical weapons, often there are setbacks and disappointments. In those hard times, leaders may find that opinions on the way forward are often diverse and consensus hard to achieve. Tribulations in the midst of honorable strife demand that leaders maintain a singular focus on the ultimate goal so that differences of opinion do not sabotage unity with dissension.
In the not so distant past, this columnist asked my readers to contact the members of the finance committee and implore them to pass the Governor’s budget without additions or compromise. We asked that the committee not cave to the Democrat party and their special interests, specifically unions. We asked that the budget presented would result in a smaller government that spends less. The finance committee achieved none of these things. That is why The Maine Conservative Voice finds the budget presented by the finance committee to be inconsistent with conservative principles and we cannot in good conscience indorse it.
Many of my good friends and allies may take exception to these statements. Some have felt that the Governor’s budget with its many flaws was at least a first step. Perhaps frustrated with the lack of progress from the legislature, some may be happy to see at least some semblance of legislating. It is the opinion of The Maine Conservative Voice that frustration with the lax leadership of the legislature should not find us so quickly willing to accept mediocrity in a vain effort to herald accomplishment. The people of Maine have asked for better. They deserve better.
The budget calls for $300 million in new revenues and it raises spending from $5.7 billion to $6.035 billion. Yes, that is billion with a “B”. The tax cuts have been so watered down that, much to the Democrats glee, they will provide very little help to revive struggling economies in Northern and Central Maine. Why is it that moderate Republicans are so quick to use the welfare of rural Maine as a bargaining chip to Democrats? If north-central Maine were ever allowed to develop its own resources it would produce an economy that would rival the South. Maybe ….that’s ….why….? No, No, I hope not, because a prosperous Maine, anywhere in Maine, benefits all of Maine.
Welfare benefits are capped at 5 years, which is good, but Democrats have been allowed to pepper it with exemptions. You and I know that individuals that have made a lifestyle out of government entitlements will certainly find a way to work every exemption to their benefit. And Democrat activists are printing up training manuals as I write, you can be sure.
Much needed pension reform has been implemented reducing the unfunded liability by $1.7 billion, but unfortunately it comes at the expense of retirees. Current employees simply have a 2-year pay freeze with no reduction in benefits. This was a union demand and the Republicans cowered giving in. It seems the message the union is sending to their members is that once you retire you are fair game. Pension reform is needed desperately but it needs to be done fairly across the board with all members sharing the sacrifice.
Once again the roads of Maine have been ignored. Once again the little bit of commerce that happens to come to rural Maine will continue to dwindle as businesses and vacationers will be reluctant to see their products, goods and recreational property pummeled and damaged by north-central Maine’s crumbling infrastructure. Once again the basic function of government has been neglected. Once again the needs of rural Maine have been regulated to a secondary priority. The Governor was swept to victory on the strength of a galvanized rural Maine. He promised to treat Maine as one Maine. Sadly, the legislative rendition of his budget does not reflect those promises.
The Maine Conservative Voice asks its readers to call the Governor’s office and respectfully implore the Governor to veto this budget. This will show the Republican leadership that they must start taking orders from the people not the Democrat Party and its union interests. The people have voted for an end to 40 years of Democrat rule and, yet, after one year of a Republican majority, it seems we have had 41 years of Democrat rule.