Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Only change can bring us tax relief in Maine

Periodically over the past couple of months I’ve ranted about the spending by Maine Government. You’ve seen where I’ve pointed out that we are the second highest taxed state in America. You’ve seen where I’ve said I think spending is totally out of control in Maine (possibly the U.S. Government as well) as our Legislators simply have failed to prioritize needs and wishes. Instead, they seem to fund just about anything anyone wants.

To make the citizens feel they are really having a say in the state budget, legislators occasionally put huge projects out for a public vote on bonding them. Calling the bonds “investments” they convince Mainers to blindly go into the booth and approve millions of dollars in bonds. I can’t understand why Mainers are so gullible as to think those bonds are really tax increases as they have to be paid off with tax money.

Most, if not all, and I can’t remember when one wasn’t, are passed easily by the voters of the state. And so our deficit along with our regular expenditures grows. The Legislature critters and governor look upon that acceptance as acceptance of all they do. They have no concept that the people of this state are really in fiscal difficulty and most, although they should know better, don’t really understand it is their taxes that have to pay off those bonds. Or perhaps they simply don’t care because a quarter of all Mainers are on some form of public welfare and, I’d guess, close to another quarter are on some form of public payroll.

I often lurk on a mostly political Maine forum called As Maine Goes (www.asmainegoes.com) and most of the posters there are Republicans. They too rail about the budget that Maine’s government spending passes virtually without protest. I find the sad part to be that the minority party (surprisingly in Maine is the Republican Party) offers almost no resistance to the expanding taxes and spending. There is a very small handful, note that “very,” of Republicans who vote against the expanding budget, but most of them have the incredibly wrong belief that they can compromise.

There is no compromise with Democrats. They will use the “bipartisan” word only as a small placation to the Republicans, but the word is simply a “feel good” word that accomplishes absolutely nothing.

There are many posters on As Maine Goes who feel that until the grassroots Republicans become truly involved, nothing will change. I agree. Even on that forum, there is no real ideal that Republicans can follow as they are constantly arguing among themselves. And therein probably lies the problem. Unless the minority party can come together to find a common, acceptable goal and then remain together to get out into their respective communities to fight for that goal, there will not be, there cannot be, any change.

Republicans must find election candidates that will fight for lower taxes and cuts in spending and then work extremely hard to support those candidates for the November elections. We can accomplish change only by changing the members of the governing bodies in Augusta. And it will take a lot of very hard work and honest commitment to achieve that reform. I’m not sure my party hasn’t become the party of complainers, however, with no willingness to fight for change.

Unfortunately, as several posters on the forum agree, Maine’s citizens just seem to love the spend habit of our Legislative critters. We in Maine seem to have adopted the attitude that the problem is with the other guys, as our neighbors and friends represent us very well. And we continue to send them to Augusta to rob us once again. Until this attitude changes, there can be no spending changes.

How about you, G.D., why don’t you put yourself forward? That’s a good and fair question. I’m not sure you’d accept the answer.


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