Monday, March 3, 2008

A little weather; And, Watch out for new taxes!

Seems to me like I mention the weather just about every other day. Today won’t be different, just a little less weather as I’m going to catch up on an observation about our state budget crisis.

First, the weather: We don’t have a winter storm today in most of Maine, at least. Our next storm will be moving into Southern Maine tomorrow into Wednesday. This time, though, in our region the weather folk aren’t even talking snow; they’re saying this one will be rain, heavy at times. Rain in itself isn’t bad. But because of the nighttime temperatures the next few nights, we’ll be getting a dose of ice. That is bad. It has the potential to make travel treacherous and difficult, to cause ice-laden branches and trees to tumble, and bring about some power outages. We’ll have an off day Thursday before another round of stuff rolls in Friday into Saturday. Will this winter ever end?

I sure do hope it will. Our son, his wife, and our granddaughter are now just three weeks away from visiting us. We haven’t seen them in several years so the visit is our anticipated highlight of the year. I’d love to have some decent weather so they can enjoy their vacation.

Now on to another item: Our state Legislature is setting itself up to totally fail the Maine citizens. By now you know we have a budget shortfall in the $200 million range so far, and some expect it to climb even higher. By nearly all non-legislator accounts, the only way to resolve the problem is the cut state spending. It’s beginning to appear as if our Democrat controlled body doesn’t have the courage to face the situation it created and cut. Cuts are needed to get Maine back into the national median spending in virtually every category. Right now we are in the top two or three in taxation and spending.

We said it before: Mainers simply cannot afford more taxation, yet Democrat leaders in both the House and Senate are on record favoring increasing revenue to solve the problem. Increased revenue translates into more taxes. The senate president says in a guest newspaper column that Mainers are committed to helping Mainers (read that as increasing the public dole) and the Legislature has over the past seven years has cut to the bare bones. The Speaker of the House has scheduled budget debate to effectively cut off any Republican input and pass the budget as the Democrats envision it.

Meanwhile, a Market Decisions report released today shows that the big majority of Mainers do not want any tax increases to solve the budget crisis but believe that consolidation of spending and cuts should be used.

Edited after publishing: More explanation of the report was issued today by the Republican party. This terrific information can be found on AMG. (You'll need to scroll down a bit.)

Both linked reports were reported today in the Public Square forum of As Maine Goes by its editor.

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue to blame everyone but themselves for our crisis and are following the House Speaker’s Talking Points we mentioned a few days ago. It’s the national economy and some federal Medicaid rules changes that are causing our problems, they say. They conveniently don’t recognize their own ridiculous income projections, bad investments, and creation of rules making us the #1 welfare state in the nation. The national economy is an element of the problem, but the feds tell us that the rules changes are a result of overspending and reporting by the State.

This is an election year. It’ll be interesting to watch this play out. My guess would be that when Mainers begin to feel the full impact of the Legislature’s actions, there could be a voter rebellion. Then, maybe not. Mainers seem to like being poor.


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