Archive for October 13th, 2012

Democratic Weekly Address by Sen. John Patrick (Oxford): Under GOPs’ Watch, Promises Made, Broken, Middle Class Forgotten

Posted on October 13, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Audio link here.

Good Morning. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford.

It caught my ear when I heard that Maine Republicans held a press conference this week. I wondered, “what more could they be saying about the failed policies of the last couple of years—under their watch?” Certainly, since they’ve been running Augusta, we’ve heard them make a lot of promises.

Like the time when Republicans promised that all Mainers would pay less for health insurance because of their “overhaul” bill. Well, that turned in to a promise broken.

Not only does their new law impose a $22 million tax on every person who has health insurance, it raises rates so that Mainers are paying more for less. If you’re a family of four, you will pay an extra $400 to $600.

Because of their law, insurance rates skyrocketed for all Mainers over the age of 60. And their law lets insurance companies charge middle age Mainers five-hundred times more than younger Mainers.

Small businesses didn’t fare any better either—especially small businesses with older workers in rural areas. They were hit the hardest. In fact, nine out of ten businesses saw an increase.

It seems that the Republican “overhaul” law should change its name to the Republican Rate Hike Law.

There were also promises of putting Maine’s students first. But that too was a promise broken.

The Republican-led legislature cut millions of dollars for HeadStart and other pre-K programs—critical programs that help children and parents.

They spearheaded policies that siphon tax payer dollars away from our community public schools to fund private, religious, virtual and even for profit schools. That’s not going to make our students better—in fact, it will result in lost opportunities for our students and erode our community public schools.

But perhaps the biggest promise they made to Mainers was the promise of jobs. There was a lot of fanfare around this promise. In fact, they even put signs up saying Maine was “open for business”. I was hopeful. Frankly I didn’t care—and I still don’t care—which party, Democrat or Republican, gets Maine people back to work—as long as it happens. But that too turned out to be a promise broken.

While the rest of the country has figured out ways to emerge from the greatest recession of our lifetime, Maine lags behind—way behind.

There are still more than 50,000 Mainers out of work.

We’re dead last in personal income growth and our economy is the only state in New England whose economy actually shrank.

Are we moving forward or backwards under the leadership of the Republican Party?

And so to find out, I looked at the fancy booklet that the Republicans passed out at their press conference and this is what I saw: More of the same. They’re not telling the whole story. They’re forgetting to tell the part that impacts Maine families and working people.

For two years Republicans have been running Augusta and now they’re running from their record.

The fact is that they have made it harder to live, work, and invest in Maine.

Because of their priorities and policies, health care is more expensive, costs have shifted and more people are working harder for less.

A fancy booklet or press conference won’t change the fact that too many Mainers are still out of work and that Republicans have failed to get our economy moving again. They have left the middle class behind.

And so when the Republicans held their press conference and made no mention—during their thirty minutes behind the microphone—not one mention of jobs, not one mention of putting Mainers back to work, I have to wonder where are their priorities? Who are they working for?

I can tell you as a maintenance mechanic at a paper mill—for the last 32 years, I know what it means to earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. I know what it’s like to want a better and brighter future for my children. I know what it’s like to worry about how to pay your medical bills and also pay your mortgage. And I know that we can do better to get Maine back on track. We need to stop the rhetoric, put away the glossy booklet, knuckle down and roll up our sleeves to get results.

Thank you for listening. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford. Have a great weekend!

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Weekly Address of President Obama: One Million American Jobs Saved and a Stronger American Auto Industry

Posted on October 13, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Hi, everybody.

Every year around this time, American car companies start rolling out their newest, shiniest models, hoping to entice you into buying one. It’s Detroit’s chance to show you what they’ve been working on – the latest and greatest. And this year is no exception. They’ve got some pretty good-looking cars coming out.

But something is different this time around – and it starts with the auto companies themselves.

Just a few years ago, the auto industry wasn’t just struggling – it was flatlining. GM and Chrysler were on the verge of collapse. Suppliers and distributors were at risk of going under. More than a million jobs across the country were on the line – and not just auto jobs, but the jobs of teachers, small business owners, and everyone in communities that depend on this great American industry.

But we refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.

Today, auto sales are the highest they’ve been in more than four years. GM is back. Ford and Chrysler are growing again. Together, our auto industry has created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs right here in America.

And we’re not just making more cars and trucks – we’re making better ones.

After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and light trucks will average almost 55 miles per gallon – nearly double what they get today. That means you’ll only have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week. It’s good for your wallet, it’s good for our economy, and it’s good for the environment.

The technology that makes it happen will also help America stay on the cutting edge for decades to come. Just this week, GM announced they plan to hire 1,500 workers for a new research center in Michigan to help make sure the high-tech cars of tomorrow are designed and built right here in America.

I’ve also signed new bipartisan trade agreements into law, because I want to see more cars on the road in places like South Korea imported from Detroit and Toledo and Chicago.

All of this is something the American people can and should be proud of. It’s a reminder that when the American people put their mind to something, there’s nothing we can’t do.

So next time you see one of those brand new 2013 models on TV or on the lot, think about how far we’ve come together. Think about how – thanks to the hard work and can-do spirit of the American people – more of those cars and trucks are being manufactured by American workers at American companies in communities all across the country. And they’re going to save you more money at the pump.

That’s what America is all about. When we get knocked down, we get back up. We come back stronger. And as long as I’m President, that’s what we’ll keep doing.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Quoting JFK to Describe Current State of the Economy

Posted on October 13, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

Millions of Americans were jobless and business bankruptcies reached their highest level since the Great Depression; incomes dropped and unemployment benefits were exhausted. Fifty years ago our economy was in trouble and President John F. Kennedy was candid with his words. He said the “state of our economy is disturbing.”

This look back to 1961 mirrors the hardships Americans face today. Our recovery has been anemic and incomplete, millions of Americans are without jobs, and the U.S. has out-of-control debt which is creating uncertainty for the future state of our economy.

There is a glimmer of hope, however, coming from the states. Like Congress, governors face challenges, but instead of ignoring problems states are taking action. Reform-minded governors have championed tax reforms, reined in spending and downsized government. At the same time, governors are supporting policies that attract business investment and cut through government red tape.

Tax reform is one way to get us on the road to real recovery. The Tax Foundation released recently its 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index comparing tax rates and policies across states. Maine saw the greatest improvement in its tax ranking this year, moving from 37th to 30th.

This is a positive move for the people of Maine. Last year, my Administration repealed our individual alternative minimum tax and we eliminated net operating losses for businesses. Those measures alone will save $15 million annually.

In 2013 additional changes to Maine’s tax structure, including lower brackets for individual income taxes will take effect. This reform was not considered in this year’s report and will likely result in even further improvements in Maine’s ranking. Estimates indicate approximately 440,000 Maine resident returns will have an average reduction in their individual income tax liability of $340 in tax year 2013, an average decrease of 11 percent. A family of four, according to Maine Revenue Service, with $50,000 of Maine Adjusted Gross Income will have a reduction of $300 or a 25 percent cut. Furthermore, approximately 70,000 working Maine people at the lowest income levels will have their state income taxes eliminated completely. Yet another sign of hope.

Taxes are a job-killer. When businesses are squeezed by taxes Mainers lose. We lose opportunities to attract new jobs and earn better wages. This is why many governors are focusing on tax reform. The Cato Institute recently ranked all governors based on their fiscal policy. Four states, including Maine, received an A. Governors who cut taxes and spending received the highest grades while lower marks went to states which expanded government with tax-and-spend policies.

If there is one lesson we have learned during the past four years it is that we cannot tax and spend our way out of economic troubles. No amount of stimulus money will dig us out of this hole. The only way we can get ahead again is to understand our fiscal limitations and prioritize our needs from wants. What we may want is not necessarily what we need or can afford.

While some rely on hope to evoke change, change does not come without hard work. This brings me back to one of my favorite quotes from President Kennedy: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

It’s time we revive the American Dream and rebuild our way of life. I believe that we were once truly the Land of the free and with hard work we can find that freedom again.

Thank you for listening.

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