Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gay Marriage, Menus, Tax loopholes

The weather is easy to describe today. Rain. And not much will change until at least late next Monday. My lawn is going to require a scythe to cut the grass.

Both houses in the Maine Legislature have passed the same sex marriage law. Only two steps remain and at least one of them is expected to happen today. The Senate gave preliminary approval last week followed by House yesterday. It’s back in the Senate today for final passage and since that body has already given its approval once, there’s no reason to think it won’t repeat it today. (Edited at 11:30 AM -- The Senate has given final approval today. The measure now goes to the governor.)

Then the measure goes on to Gov. Baldacci for his signature. He will have ten days to either sign the measure or veto it. He has said in the past that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman and has not signed similar measures unless they included a provision for a statewide vote. The law passed this year does not. (Edited at 1:30 to add: Governor Baldacci has signed into law the gay marriage bill.)

The governor hasn’t said how he will treat this new law, but speculation is that he has stuck his finger into the air, felt how the wind is blowing, and probably will sign it. That probably won’t be the end of the issue, however, as a couple of groups have joined together to begin a people’s veto petition drive to repeal the law if the governor signs it. They will wait until after the signing to begin. The group will have 90 days after the end of the legislative session later this month to gather almost 56-thousand signatures.

If they get them by the first week of September, the question could be on the November ballot, or if they get them by the near end of September, it won’t make it until next June. Also, if the drive is successful, the law’s implementation will be held until after the vote.

Anyone opposed to this law had better get their feelings to the governor right away.

There’s another new law making its way through the legislature, a law I think is a waste of legislative time and money. It would place another expensive burden of Maine’s food industry by requiring menus and menu boards on walls to include nutritional information on the various offerings. There are many people who say such a requirement would help fight obesity in children and the health of adults by giving them choices.

I seriously doubt few people going into a fast food restaurant to buy a hamburger, for example, already don’t know it isn’t diet food. I honestly don’t believe many people will read that information on menus and then make decisions on which food to buy. I can only speak for myself here, but if I go into a restaurant, I already know what food is being served and, more often than not, know what I’m going have when I get there.

I have my favorite eating places for various kinds of food and nothing about the nutrition value of those foods will change that. The place to educate both ourselves and our kids is in the home. Teach them proper nutrition there and they just may make nutritional choices when they eat out. Meanwhile, our state government is giving business yet another expensive reason to make decisions as they attempt to do business in this state.

Speaking of businesses, I received an e-mail from my Fearless Friend yesterday which pointed out an interesting thought about President Obama’s vow to close the tax loopholes on companies that do business off shore and hide money from taxes. The President says he will close loopholes and raise taxes on those companies.

FF points out that history shows us that those companies will just find other loopholes or new ways to hide their money. The current administration pays no attention to history, however, as it has shown us through all the spending and welfare enhancements it has already passed. We don’t have to look too far into history to see that government has never succeeded with bailouts, stimuli, oppressive corporate laws, etc., to fix economies or the way of life.

History taught us nothing about the 1930s or the 1960/70s for example. We seem to refuse to look into the past to learn about the future. FF pointed out to me that the solutions are very simple: just lower the taxes to match the off shore places and there would be no need to find loopholes. The companies would save money, the government would get more money and everyone would be happy.

Every time government has lowered taxes, it has taken in more revenue. Congress, however, has looked at all that new money, created more ways to spend it faster than it comes in, and then complains that lowering of taxes doesn’t work. There will come a time, and I hope it’s soon, the American people will demand a return to more responsible government.

FF took one last shot, but mostly at us for allowing the growth of government: Oh yes, so soon I forget. Then he would have no talking points and couldn’t blame business for all the troubles of the world and get all those votes from the stupid people.


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