Archive for November 10th, 2012

(BLAST FROM THE PAST) Maine Asks LePage: “Which Communties Are About To Default, Governor?”

Posted on November 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

(With Governor LePage now stating that there is a school in Maine, which he wouldn’t name because it’s “embarrassing,” where only 23 percent of graduates are proficient in English and math, it seems a good time to dust off this oldie but goodie post… ~AP)

Originally posted 19 Feb 2011:

 


My friend Gerald has a “default poll” post running today, so I thought we could run one as well to elaborate on his poll! BTW, so far 92% (23 of 25) responders think LePage is “making sh*t up”.

Our MPW Question:

“Which communities do you believe Gov. LePage was referring to when he said that some were ready to default?”

Even in these days of zippity-quick social media, strong enough that a handful of people can overthrow 30 years of oppression by utilizing Facebook and Twitter, it appears that sometimes it still takes some time for traditional media to pay attention and catch up to what’s going on in their own state.

Take for example, Governor LePage’s statement as first reported in Dirigo Blue (emphasis mine):

I have transcribed the section in which Gov. LePage mentions these couple of communities. The text that is struck through was part of the prepared remarks he did not read. The underlined is what he added:

We owe twice as much in debt as we expect to collect in General Fund Revenues the next biennium. Over the next two years and our the State of Maine debt as a percentage of state GDP is twice the national average; twice. There are several states that I was reading this week that our teetering on default with municipal bonds. They are Texas, New Jersey, and New York, and folks, we’re only a few numbers behind them.Because whether or not the State defaults, we have a couple of communities that are ready to default. So folks, it is a lot more serious than anyone is willing to give it credit.

That’s the bad news.

Pretty serious stuff from the Governor! This was an address delivered Thursday 10 Feb 2011 to the joint session of the Statehouse with plenty of media there- so one would think that said media would have picked UP on this statement by the Governor and asked him specifically,“What communities?”

Yet none did. For DAYS.

DB then followed up by asking legislators why they were not questioning the Governor- the next day, Democrats responded with a press release:


Democratic lawmakers ask Governor to name “default” communities mentioned in budget speech 


Legislators from financial services committee say we must hear from Maine towns that are ready to “default”
AUGUSTA – Democratic lawmakers on the Insurance and Financial Affairs Committee, which considers policy related to banking and foreclosure matters, are calling on the governor to identify the Maine towns he named in his budget speech that are ready to “default.”

“If the governor knows of towns in our state that are facing bankruptcy, lawmakers have an obligation and responsibility to hear directly from those towns,” said Rep. Sharon Treat of Hallowell, who serves as the lead Democrat on the committee and a sponsor of Maine’s strong foreclosure protection laws. “If Maine municipalities are truly on the brink of insolvency, we need to hear about it and make sure the legal and financial safeguards are in place to protect the public.”

The Maine Municipal Association told the House Democratic Office that they are unaware of any Maine town in danger of going bankrupt.

“If my town was facing bankruptcy, I would want to know and I would consider it my duty as representative to work with the state to help my community,” said Rep. Adam Goode of Bangor, a Democratic lawmaker serving on the committee. “The governor’s speech was the first time we heard that there are municipalities in our state that are going bankrupt. The comments are even more worrisome considering the governor’s budget proposal to cut funding to towns.”

The governor’s budget proposal reduces the percentage of revenue sharing provided to municipalities for two years.

Since then, attention is finally being paid by local media and pressure put upon the LePage administration to “put up or shut up”, as people on Facebook and Twitter are discussing the comments, the Governor’s refusal to disclose the names of the communities- and statewide speculation is growing as to whether or not there is any truth to these statements at all.

MPBN: LePage Refuses to Name “Ready to Default” Maine Towns

 

But the governor has not budged. In a statement, his office said LePage “has had private conversations with leaders from a couple of Maine communities that face severe financial stress. He is monitoring the progress, but will not be naming the communities.””I don’t know what private discussions may or may not have been held, but we at Maine Municipal Association are not aware of any two or three municipalities sort of teetering on insolvency,” says Eric Conrad, spokesman for the association, which represents Maine’s towns and cities.

Adding to the group’s confusion is the governor’s lack of specifics about the problems the cited communities were facing. “We heard him when he said it,” Conrad says. “But we looked a each other and we’re just not sure–was he talking about pension liability, for instance, or overall financial operations. We’re just not clear.”

State statute says that a special board would have to be established to enable financially-troubled municipalities to get assistance from the state. Staff at the Maine Municipal Association say that has not happened before, in their recollection.

Lewiston Sun Journal: LePage dogged by calls to name “default” towns

LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt has declined to name the communities the governor referred to in his budget speech. “The governor doesn’t think it’s his place to share that kind of news,” Demeritt said. “He was speaking in his budget address, and that’s as far as he wanted to go with it.”Demeritt said he wasn’t aware of any communities approaching the state because they couldn’t pay their bills. However, he said, “the governor knows how to read a balance sheet” and he had identified a couple of communities that were in trouble.

Eric Conrad, communications director for the Maine Municipal Association, said no community had come forward with that kind of news. “We’re just not sure what (LePage) meant when he said that,” Conrad said. “If there were communities approaching insolvency, we think we would know. But we don’t know if the governor was talking about pensions or something else.”

Conrad said nobody he spoke with at the association could recall an example of a town defaulting or initiating the state takeover outlined in Title 30 of Maine law.

Asked why the governor wouldn’t name the communities, Demeritt said the governor didn’t think it was appropriate, even though those towns would become public if they fell under Title 30.

Hmm. Someone should file a FOIA to see that same spreadsheet that Demeritt referenced…

MyFoxMaine: Governor’s ‘Default’ Claim Questioned

The Maine Municipal Association says it’s not aware of any Maine town in danger of going bankrupt.  But the Governor’s office says it is true.  Still, it does not plan to release more details.”Governor LePage has had private conversations with leaders from a couple of Maine communities that face severe financial stress.   He is monitoring the progress, but will not be naming the communities,” said Dan Demeritt with the Governor’s office.

WGME: Governor LePage: Some Maine communities facing “default”

Bangor Daily News (same story as LSJ): LePage refuses to name ‘ready-to-default’ towns

And still, the Governor has refused to answer the questions. And for the second week in a row, LePage has failed to issue a weekly address to the State of Maine.

So much for openness and transparency…

 

 

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Weekly Address of President Obama: Extending Middle Class Tax Cuts to Grow the Economy

Posted on November 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Hello, everybody.

On Tuesday, America went to the polls. And the message you sent was clear: you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.

That’s why I’ve invited leaders of both parties to the White House next week, so we can start to build consensus around challenges we can only solve together. I also intend to bring in business, labor and civic leaders from outside Washington to get their ideas and input as well.

At a time when our economy is still recovering from the Great Recession, our top priority has to be jobs and growth. That’s the focus of the plan I talked about during the campaign. It’s a plan to reward businesses that create jobs here in America, and give people access to the education and training that those businesses are looking for. It’s a plan to rebuild our infrastructure and keep us on the cutting edge of innovation and clean energy. And it’s a plan to reduce our deficit in a balanced and responsible way.

This is even more important because at the end of this year, we face a series of deadlines that require us to make major decisions about how to pay down our deficit – decisions that will have a huge impact on the economy and the middle class, now and in the future.

Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending, and I intend to work with both parties to do more. But as I said over and over again on the campaign trail, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue – and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes. That’s how we did it when Bill Clinton was President. And that’s the only way we can afford to invest in education and job training and manufacturing – all the ingredients of a strong middle class and a strong economy.

Already, I’ve put forward a detailed plan that allows us to make these investments while reducing our deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. Now, I’m open to compromise and new ideas. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced. I will not ask students or seniors or middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people making over $250,000 aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes. This was a central question in the election. And on Tuesday, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach – that includes Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

Now we need a majority in Congress to listen – and they should start by making sure taxes don’t go up on the 98% of Americans making under $250,000 a year starting January 1. This is something we all agree on. Even as we negotiate a broader deficit reduction package, Congress should extend middle-class tax cuts right now. It’s a step that would give millions of families and 97% of small businesses the peace of mind that will lead to new jobs and faster growth. There’s no reason to wait.

We know there will be differences and disagreements in the months to come. That’s part of what makes our political system work. But on Tuesday, you said loud and clear that you won’t tolerate dysfunction, or politicians who see compromise as a dirty word. Not when so many of your families are still struggling.

Instead, you want cooperation. You want action. That’s what I plan to deliver in my second term, and I expect to find leaders from both parties willing to join me.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Weekly Democratic Address by Sen. Seth Goodall (Sagadahoc): It’s time to find common ground to move Maine forward

Posted on November 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Audio link here.

Election Day is now behind us and Mainers spoke loudly and clearly for balance in Augusta, balance that is focused on a vision that grants every Mainer the opportunity to succeed, balance that grows our economy and the middle class. Balance that is focused on putting people back to work, not divisive rhetoric or distractions that turn back the clock.

It is time for action, by both parties and the Governor, to work together toward common ground to move Maine forward. It’s not about who is right or wrong, or who wins or loses, it’s about what is best for Maine.

Good Morning. This is State Senator Seth Goodall of Richmond.

During the campaign, Democrats knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors across the state. We spoke to Democrats, Independents and Republicans. We listened to what you had say. We heard your concerns. We understand our challenges. And we feel and share your frustration.

What we heard at your door cannot be forgotten. It must motivate us to work harder to strengthen our state.

We heard you say you want a vision for a better way—a stronger way. A plan that gives every person a shot.

We heard you say you want to be able go to work, pay your bills, and enjoy your family—and know that we, as lawmakers, are doing our job—working together to move Maine forward, getting results.

There’s no doubt about it, we are facing serious challenges. We still have more than 50,000 Mainers out of work–and families continue their struggle to make ends meet, pay their bills, afford their groceries and heat their homes. There are the daily pressures of how to pay for things such as day care and gassing up the car just to get to work, and then, many are forced to make hard choices about paying their bills while often not being able to set aside money for their retirement and their kid’s education.

Lawmakers need to get to work immediately to find solutions that will rebuild and grow our economy.

In January when the new Legislature convenes, Democrats will be moving forward with practical solutions–seeking common ground—that is based on what we heard from you at your door.

Our priority is to help rebuild our economy so that people can get back to work, businesses can grow and every Mainer has the opportunity to succeed.

Our agenda will not pick winners or losers, but instead address concerns of those all across Maine – from our cities to the smallest towns. Our initiatives will be focused on restoring opportunity and economic security so that Mainers can work their way into the middle class–not get pushed out.

Maine can once again, be and portray, a place where folks want to live, work, and do business. A place with good schools, strong communities, and vibrant downtowns. A place where our workers get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Where our unemployed workers can get the training they need and businesses demand, to get back to work. A place where businesses invest and entrepreneurship flourishes.

Maine must be a place where our students are challenged and our teachers supported. A place where all of our families can afford to see a doctor and our children are healthy and safe. And a place where our businesses thrive and our natural resources are protected.

We are committed to working on the best ideas for Maine—regardless of which party comes up with them. We hope the Governor is willing to join us and work together on addressing Maine’s challenges.

This is State Senator Seth Goodall of Richmond. And this Veteran’s Day weekend, please thank our veterans and their families for their commitment, sacrifice and service to our state and our nation. They will and always have been there to protect our freedoms and democracy. Thank you for listening.

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Weekly Address by First Lady Ann LePage: Remembering and Thanking our Veterans

Posted on November 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

Hello. This is First Lady Ann LePage.

I am honored to be speaking to you today about the cause closest to my heart and so often on my mind: our veterans, who we commemorate each November 11, the day in 1918 when our nation’s plan for peace prevailed and World War I was finally ended.

I find it fitting that Veterans Day always follows Election Day and the divisive campaigns that lead to it. Nothing unites all Americans more than the love for our great country and the pride and respect we have for the millions of our citizens who have answered the highest call to defend its honor and promote its ideals.

We are free, safe and strong thanks to the courage and selfless sacrifice of our servicemen and women and their patient, patriotic families.

Our veterans’ commitment to our country and the causes it stands for have not changed as a result of the outcome of this week’s elections.

Our veterans are not Republicans, Independents or Democrats. They are Americans.

They are not from red states or blue. They are from these UNITED States.

Our 22 million living veterans are your fathers and mothers, your sisters and brothers, your sons and daughters. They are your neighbors and teachers and firefighters and the bagger who packed up your groceries and your newly-elected representatives in Augusta and Washington DC. They are educated – with a greater percentage of our vets having earned high school diplomas or higher than the general population – yet they suffer increased rates of unemployment and homelessness.

This should not be. We must come together on behalf of our bravest to make the Maine they return to stronger than the one they were called from to serve. Coming home should not be their hardest tour of duty.

Just as they fought for our freedom, we all will fight to ensure they return to the health and higher education benefits they’ve earned and that growing Maine businesses hire these heroes, who return not only with the skill sets they’ve strengthened during their service, but with the culture of collaboration and communication critical to successful military operations.

Government, companies, communities, colleges, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, friends and family all have an important role in supporting these individuals. However, it takes a cooperative effort. No single person or program has the resources to provide the lifetime care and commitment our veterans have earned. Besides, our debt for their service is one we all must pledge to pay forward.

Our lives are busy, and it is easy to think of Veterans Day as just another day off from work or school. We owe them more than that.

Our appreciation can be expressed in many ways, from a nod of thanks to the driver with the Purple Heart plate to recommitting ourselves to service above self through volunteerism or charity. Visit with veterans at the Maine Veteran’s home, as the Governor and I will be doing over the next few days, or join those friendly Mainers who greet hundreds of thousands of troops –day and night– as they take those first sacred steps back on American soil at Bangor International Airport.

Above all else, never forget that our veterans risked everything so we all could have the freedom to achieve anything. To them, our state says – and shows – our collective thanks–, on Veterans Day and every day.
God bless our troops of past and present, God bless the State of Maine, and God bless the UNITED States of America. Thank you.

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