This was just about the luckiest day of my life way back before World War II, but I certainly didn’t know it then and it was another 20 years or so before I began to figure it out. It was on this day that Gator Wife first arrived in this world. I can’t tell you about her earlier years and they certainly didn’t affect me. Neither of us knew the other existed.
An event changed all that. My cousin got married. I came up from Florida for the wedding and saw her maid of honor for the first time. My cousin took a back seat in importance. A few months later, I had moved back to Maine. The rest, as they say, is history.
So today, I’m hoping for a Most Happy Birthday for Gator Wife. I hope my decision to return to the state has brought her just a little amount of the happiness she has brought to me and I pray she has many more wonderful years.
GW and I are on vacation. We have no specific plans for the week except to “play it by ear.” The weather will have major impact on what we do. On nice days, we’re planning to take some day trips; on less than nice days, perhaps just some local shopping will be on tap. For only the second time in the last about 23 years we don’t have a major trip planned.
The state government gave me a chance for a little rant this morning. Last Thursday we learned that less than 13 days into the fiscal year, the projection for revenue shortfall has already hit 80 million dollars. A good portion of that, of course, is the money the state took from the current budget to pay its bills in the deficit in last year’s budget.
That budget as well a parts of this year’s relied heavily on federal stimulus money to pay bills. That money was supposed to have stimulated the economy. In Maine much of it was simply to pay bills that the state owed others, like hospitals, and to provide funds for welfare programs. It did nothing to help correct the massive shortfall Maine faced except postpone it. And now still faces.
Does anyone see any parallels between the financial condition in Maine and that of California? Sure, California’s problem makes Maine’s seem miniscule, but the population of California also makes Maine’s population seem miniscule. Maine has followed many of the social programs of the western state. As a result both states, along with most of the states, have huge deficits. California is nearing bankruptcy. Maine perhaps isn’t quite there, yet; but unless it makes substantive changes in its spending, it won’t be too long before it is.
Some legislators are beginning to get the hint. The minority Republicans have been calling for spending cuts for years and now some Democrats are in the beginning stages of seeing that light. Taking a good look at our welfare state and ridding itself of some of the give-away programs are a must if we are to get Maine back in order.
The Democrats, and one Republican, believe that increasing taxes to get more revenue is the answer. For some reason every time they raise taxes and reduce the amount of money people have to spend only results in more revenue shortfall. Taxes must be cut, lowered, to get people to spend money. When the people spend, the government’s revenue grows. That simple truism has been proven more than once by both Democrat and Republican leadership. Current Maine Democrats, and national ones, too, have no concept of that simple historical fact.
Governor Baldacci has said again this year that he will not support tax and fee increases to balance the new budget. That’s what he said last year and maintained right up until it was time to sign a budget that included tax and fee increases. Some will say the income tax was reduced, but they don’t take into consideration it now has a flat rate and there are no deductions, like mortgage interest, and only a down-sliding tax credit. With the sales tax increases, the state will get more revenue…if people spend. The governor’s no fees and no tax increases pledge has a familiar hollow ring.
Thanks, Maine, for giving me something to rant about to start this vacation week. Probably much more information will have come out by today, but this was written last Friday so I don’t have that information readily at hand.
And we continue to be on vacation.