The Maine State Legislature has moved to its summer recess and now the cleanup crews have moved in to scrap the residue of food fights, tantrums, rock throwing, and all around juvenile behavior off the walls of the respective legislative chambers and the Governor’s office. It’s been a sight to behold and not a pretty one. Let’s recap the sordid details.
For clarity, it should be stated that much of the untoward behavior has revolved around the Augusta soap opera we all call “As the Budget Churns”. The Governor started things off on the wrong foot by crafting a budget behind closed doors excluding any input from the legislature including the leadership of his own Party and fellow Conservatives. When the budget was presented, Republican leadership expressed their frustration with the process and portions of the budget.
Governor LePage responded by threatening members of his own Party. He publicly promised to run a primary candidate against any Republican who voted against his budget. Now there’s a swell way to build bridges…
As you can imagine, this first of what would be a litany of bluffs and threats from the Executive office, culminating with a threat to resign as Governor if his budget wasn’t passed, did not invoke warm and fuzzy feelings from the Republican legislative caucus. Yes, they pushed back. The melee ensued. This has left Maine residents shaking their heads in disbelief and embarrassment.
But the push back from the legislature seemed more rooted in wounded egos and political payback then a corrective message to the Governor. Eventually, the Republican leadership would join forces with Democrat leadership to craft a budget with no fiscal benefit to the people of Maine. It’s pages read more like an “In-Yo-Face” budget than a plan to strengthen Maine’s economy.
The Maine Conservative Voice would like to respectfully remind the Governor and Republican leadership that they all campaigned on putting Maine people before politics. With the amount of rock throwing that has typified this last legislative session, I’m not sure anyone wants to get before your politics. It’s a good way for Maine taxpayers to get hurt.
Maine deserves better than to have to watch their elected officials turn Augusta into some dark version of Romper Room. All the bullying and hoarding of toys in the playhouse has got to stop. Maine is tired of the mess.
The people I associate with on a daily basis in my workday no longer call LePage “Our Governor”. They simply shake their heads in shame. They are also confused to why a Republican led Senate could not accomplish any of its campaign promises and why they still are playing the doormat to the Democrats. With election season looming on the horizon and only one more session to make amends, the Republicans need to take heed to their business and tuck their egos away or the Democrats, whose symbol is the Biblical term for a donkey, will continue to make Republicans look just like that Democrat party symbol.
The Governor has experienced a partial victory in the battle over the hospital debt. The Democrats have conceded that it is a good idea to pay back their debts. In most circles, this would not be viewed as any great accomplishment, as most regard this declaration as everyday common sense. But for the Justin Alfond Democrats, such a statement of even a small admittance of a need for responsibility has sent shock tremors through the very core of the Eastern Seaboard causing even “Punxsutawney Phil” to completely foul up his forecast.
Now we must realize these are baby steps for Democrats. They still don’t want to pay the whole debt. Just a portion, then raise your taxes and promise to pay the rest off with the new the tax revenue. I’m sure the hospitals of Maine are confident, in light of the past track record and Justin Alfond’s comments that we shouldn’t even pay the hospital debt, that the Democrats will keep their word. If you believe that, I’ve got some other stuff I can sell you….
Yet to this we have come as a State and as a Nation: when the Democrats can have some smug satisfaction in a partial promise to pay a portion of their debt, nearly 40 years in the making, and Republicans find a victory in forcing Democrats to admit they must pay their debts. This leaves many of the frugal Maine residents scratching their heads in dismay. How can so many of those elected to represent Maine become so detached from the Maine they represent? The answer may lie in the study of two political faces from a town called Dexter.
Justin Alfond grew up on Acadia Street in the affluent side of Dexter, when Dexter had an affluent side. His family owned the famous Dexter Shoe Company. The Alfond family sold Dexter Shoe to Warren Buffet and one of his conglomerates. Consequently, the company moved out of Dexter costing the small town some 1500 jobs.
Another political figure also has his roots in the little town of Dexter. Paul Davis grew up on the corner of Lincoln and Water Street, which Dexter residents will tell you are a decidedly different part of town, the other side of the tracks, if you will, or, in the case of Dexter, the other side of the stream. Paul Davis grew up learning the value of a hard earned dollar. He also learned from experience how hard it is to keep a dollar and how devastating debt can be.
Now the lessons of thriftiness and frugality are not exclusive to poverty nor are they exclusive to wealth for that matter. But as a wise man once said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” And there is plenty of fruit from both these individuals to see the standards of their fundamental core.
Justin Alfond has most infamously stated that we should ignore the hospital debt and treat it as a “meaningful cut”. He has also led the Democrats in a dogged obstruction of the Governor hoping to keep him from paying the hospital debt. Now they have capitulated to the Governor, but only in part, still maneuvering for an opportunity to raise taxes off the backs of Maine residents. The only candidate that the Justin Alfond Democrats have put forward to run for Governor states that, since the 40 years of mandated regulatory hell that Augusta has placed on rural Maine has pushed many towns to “insolvency”, the answer is just to shut them down and move the people like cattle to more urban locals. This smacks of young men, who are used to having someone else’s money covering the mistakes of their poor decisions.
On the other side of the stream, we have Paul Davis along with Ray Wallace, who grew up in the same part of town in Dexter, along with many other conservative Republicans who have held the line beside the Governor demanding that debts be paid. This columnist knows from personal experience that Davis has a dim view of debt and has lived his life by the “owe no man anything” precept. He refuses to purchase anything unless he can pay for it. Wallace and many of his comrades share Paul Davis’ disdain of the slipshod accounting practices of the Alfond Democrats. They stand along with the Governor with their backs to the edge desperately trying to hold Alfond and his Democrats from pushing Maine off into the fiscal abyss.
Maine people need to decide which face of Dexter they prefer to see to their State’s affairs. The face of accountability, honesty and “pay as you go” approach to life that you see in Paul Davis and his allies, or the make promises, accumulate debt and then “cut and run” approach of Justin Alfond and his allies. The edge for Maine inches closer, while the Governor, Paul Davis and their allies can only hold for so long. We must lend our voices to theirs, for be assured, that if Maine falls over the edge, Alfond will not go with us. He will cut and run.
“Why should Maine taxpayers, who are having a hard time keeping a roof over their head and food on the table, be subsidizing cars that are this expensive?” Senator Doug Thomas raised this question in response to the latest tax break for the wealthy scheme by the Democrats. Tax breaks for the wealthy, you ask, by the Democrats? Yes, it is actually more the norm than you would think.
Republicans have long been labeled the Party for the rich because they believe in incentives for business to create wealth that in turn creates jobs. Democrats also believe in creating wealth, their own at your expense. It’s bought and paid for by the American taxpayer.
That is why Maine Democrats have sponsored a bill that would give tax subsidies or tax breaks to people who buy electric cars. And by their own admission, it is only the very rich that can afford these cars. Yet the media is strangely silent when the Democrats cater to the rich. Or the lies by silence when the President sells access to himself for $500,000 a person. So it begs the question, why?
Why, when the Democrats have done everything in their power to avoid paying the hospitals of Maine? What have Democrats got against paying their bills? Hospitals such as Eastern Maine Medical and Mayo Regional are staggering underneath a mountain of unpaid medical expenses, forced upon them by legislative mandates. The Governor has come up with a plan to pay them off. The Democrats’ counter plan is to do nothing. They refuse to pay the hospitals and are trying to block or stall the Governor from implementing his plan, which would pay the debt to our medical institutions. Why?
In the real world, if a strong man came to your community and forced a local institution to provide a service to your community at a loss of profit but promised to pay restitution to the institution for the service they were being forced to give in writing by legal contract, and then never paid that institution, yet continues to force that institution to provide that service at a loss. What would that be considered? A crime. The Democrats have no intention of paying their contractual obligation to Maine hospitals, but while we’re on the subject of money and legislation, they would like to force you through legislation to buy their rich friends some electric cars. Just another crime against the people of Maine.