Awhile ago, House GOP hatchet guy, er, communications director David Sorensen shared on Twitter a photo taken of yesterday’s Democratic leadership media availability press conference:
— David Sorensen (@DSorensenME) March 2, 2013
Here again is the entire press conference for context:
And who can forget Dave’s work during the last election cycle? He did such a great job in getting Tom Martin re-elected, huh?
Senator Lachowicz, who is seeing constituents today, sends her love, btw…
Thanks bunches, guy!
Well, such is what happens when one captures a moment of time and tries to make a statement out of it, with none of those pesky supporting facts and such. Certainly we on the left could do the same!
Let’s give it a try.
See how this works? It is cheap political theater at best; mean-spirited nonsense at worst. It does nothing to work on the serious issues at hand; it doesn’t tell the truth of what is being said or done.
To quote the Governor from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2009/2013, “It’s bullshit.”
Goodness knows, Sorensen is quite skilled at shaping conversations even against members of his own party!
Oh- such good times, good times. From last May:
Two individuals have been identified as participating in this attempt to sow convention confusion. One is Maine House Majority Office Policy Aide David Sorensen, who reportedly nominated the fake Paul slate from the floor. Before and during the convention, Sorensen mocked the Paul people, who he termed “Ronulans,” on Twitter and implied that they believe conspiracy theories about the United Nations and black helicopters (which, to be fair, many of them do).
Paul supporters fault Sorensen both for engaging in a dirty trick and for taking precious convention time with his actions and making the entire event take longer, possibly costing the state party extra money in rental fees for the Civic Center.
“A lot of Republicans are making a fuss out of this, at least in Androscoggin County,” said Chris Dixon, a convention delegate who witnessed some of Sorensen’s actions and has written about them on Twitter and on a Ron Paul forum. “A bunch of us really want clarification on it, because here’s someone who’s directly employed by the party who’s doing a deliberate sabotage effort. He’s causing disarray for whatever reason and putting the Party on the hook for $20,000.”
Sorensen, reached for comment, repeatedly and pointedly refused to discuss any aspect of the convention, including the actions of which he is accused.
Here is a clip, as to show the full context and not just a snapshot- it clearly discusses and illustrates the fraud mentioned above:
Memories… ah, back to the present. Another tweet sent out by Dave from yesterday:
If Democrats won’t pay their bills now, then when? #mepolitics
— Maine House GOP (@MaineHouseGOP) March 1, 2013
But here’s the reality that the GOP doesn’t want Mainers to know or remember: The Democrats when in charge of the Legislature HAVE been paying down the hospital debt that occurred under the McKernan and King administrations, have been making solid payments for years and have not let up once on honoring their commitment!
From October 2006, this article penned by former Speakers of the House John Richardson and Hannah Pingree:
- For three administrations – two under an independent and one under a Republican
– state government refused to pay hospitals back payments that were due to them. That was bad for local hospitals, all of which are non-profit and many of which are small community-supported organizations and the life center of health care for their regions.
It was also bad for patients, who rely on hospitals’ continued coverage of Medicaid and Medicare patients. And the trickle-down impact of unpaid debts to hospitals goes even further, affecting the premiums we all pay for health insurance as hospitals have to increase charges to cover unpaid debts and charity care.
Gov. John Baldacci inherited 11 years of unpaid debts on his first day in office. With a structural gap of $1.2 billion, demands for increased school funding, and many other legitimate and pressing needs competing for scant dollars, Gov. Baldacci might have been forgiven if he had let the unpaid debts go unpaid a little longer.
Instead of taking the easy route, the governor showed his typical unrelenting commitment to fiscal responsibility by putting the state on a path to pay off these debts. As of this week, Maine has paid hospitals for all outstanding debts owed from 1992 to 2004. We have moved from 11 years in arrears to less than two years.
And what have the Democrats done since then? Oh, not much- wait a sec…
Via Maine House Democrats comes this information released to media yesterday:
MYTH: Democrats don’t care about paying hospitals
FACT: Maine has been steadily and increasingly paying down hospital debt for the past decade. Democrats strongly believe paying back the hospitals is a priority. That’s why we’ve been doing it for over a decade.
· Maine has already paid back more than $3.7 billion to hospitals over the past decade.
· From fiscal year 2005-2010, the combined state and federal settlement payments to hospitals totaled $742 million, according to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review. Under the LePage Administration, in fiscal year 2011-2013, hospitals will recoup $274.9 million in state and federal dollars.
· Moreover, in an effort to prevent the debt cycle, Democrats led the change to a “pay as you go” system. The law changing the system was passed in 2009 before LePage took office. The change was fully implemented in 2010.
o The 124th Legislature in PL 2009, Ch. 213 moved to abandon the Prospective Interim Payment (PIP) system of reimbursing hospitals which requires a settling up of bills after the fact with reimbursements based upon DRGs (Diagnostic Related Groupings) and APCs (Ambulatory Procedure Codes). APCs cover outpatient services provided by hospitals, DRGs are related to inpatient services. Both apply only to noncritical access hospitals. Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) continue to be reimbursed on at 107% of the Medicare rate for services. Title 22, § 3174 LL and MM contain the results of PL 2009, Ch. 213.
Hush now, Dave… Ken is sleeping!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
World Leaders React to President Obama’s Re-Election; Photo and List of Calls Released by White House
Via White House Press Office:
Readout of the President’s Phone Calls with World Leaders
Since Tuesday evening, the President has been receiving messages from his counterparts around the world congratulating him on winning re-election to a second term in office. The President appreciates all of these messages and looks forward to continuing to work with all of his fellow leaders to address the serious challenges we face together in the world.
This morning the President was able to return some of these messages personally, by phone. In each call, he thanked his counterpart for their friendship and partnership thus far and expressed his desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia
President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil
Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia
President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt
President Francois Hollande of France
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey
Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom
Newly released clip from the Obama For America campaign. Watch this.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
THE PRESIDENT: Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. (Applause.)
It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression; the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope — the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together, as one nation, and as one people. (Applause.)
Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come. (Applause.)
I want to thank every American who participated in this election. (Applause.) Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time — (applause) — by the way, we have to fix that. (Applause.) Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone — (applause) — whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard, and you made a difference. (Applause.)
I just spoke with Governor Romney, and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. (Applause.) We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply, and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service, and that is a legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. (Applause.)
In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward. (Applause.)
I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior — (applause) — the best Vice President anybody could ever hope for — Joe Biden. (Applause.)
And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. (Applause.) Let me say this publicly — Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s First Lady. (Applause.) Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes, you’re growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom. (Applause.) And I’m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now, one dog is probably enough. (Laughter.)
To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics — (applause) — the best. The best ever. (Applause.) Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together, and you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful President. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley. (Applause.) You lifted me up the whole way. And I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you put in. (Applause.)
I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos, or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies, and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late at a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.
You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s worked his way through college, and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. (Applause.) You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. (Applause.) You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job, or a roof over their head when they come home. (Applause.)
That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small; it’s big. It’s important.
Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight — and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today. (Applause.)
But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers — (applause) — a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.
We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt; that isn’t weakened by inequality; that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. (Applause.)
We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world; a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this world has ever known — (applause) — but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.
We believe in a generous America; in a compassionate America; in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. (Applause.) To the young boy on the South Side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. (Applause.) To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a President. That’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go. Forward. (Applause.) That’s where we need to go.
Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, or solve all our problems, or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus, and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.
Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. (Applause.) And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you’ve made me a better President. With your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do, and the future that lies ahead. (Applause.)
Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual. (Applause.) You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do. (Applause.)
But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America has never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. (Applause.) That’s the principle we were founded on.
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth — the belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations; that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great. (Applause.)
I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.
I’ve seen it in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them, watching their back. (Applause.)
I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. (Applause.)
And I saw it just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his eight-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything, had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care. (Applause.) I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd, listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright.
That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your President. (Applause.) And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. (Applause.) I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.
I’m not talking about blind optimism — the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us, so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting. (Applause.)
America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made, and continue to fight for new jobs, and new opportunity, and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding — the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or where you love — it doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight — you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try. (Applause.)
I believe we can seize this future together — because we are not as divided as our politics suggest; we’re not as cynical as the pundits believe; we are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions; and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America. (Applause.) And together, with your help, and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward, and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States. (Applause.)
12:58 A.M. CSTRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
(UPDATED) Why “FoxNews = Faux News”: Planned, Staged, Scripted Outrage “Breaking News” During Election Night Coverage
(4pm 11/8/12: Updated as apparently others are now questioning Karl Rove’s role in this on-air farce.)
Below is a clip of Rove from Election Night:
“The first thing that came to my mind, the first thing burned in everyone’s mind, is Florida 2000,” said Michael Clemente, the Fox News executive vice president for news. “And the minute you hear, ‘Hold the phone,’ you sort of get that oh-my-goodness feeling.”
So Mr. Clemente, who was one floor up in the control room, decided with his team of producers to allow Mr. Rove to say on television what he was finding and hearing from the Romney campaign: that the numbers coming out of Ohio were not necessarily adding up to an Obama victory.
Fox News then let its decision team respond, a logistically difficult task considering it was holed up in a room about 30 yards down the hall from the studio.
So at 11:33 p.m., Megyn Kelly, an anchor known for her no-nonsense style, began her walk down the hall and did the questioning.
The leader of the decision team, Arnon Mishkin, laid out its case, with some help from a more polished television presence, Chris Stirewalt.
“Arnon doesn’t do TV very often, and Megyn can be very pointed,” Mr. Clemente said. “So I said let’s have Arnon with the facts, and Chris — because he’s on TV every day — to put it in English.”
By that point Fox had already declared Mr. Obama not just the winner of Ohio, but the winner of the presidency. And when Mr. Rove next appeared on camera, his demeanor was more deflated.
So do we now have a FoxNews executive VP lying to cover up these misdeeds? At what point does their electioneering and blatant misinformation, given out to audiences when the polls were still open in some states, be seen as manipulative? Will the FCC investigate or other media outlets call Fox out?
Much still needs to be seen.
From the video clip’s description:
“Fox News called Ohio for Obama, Karl Rove challenged the decision on-air, causing what can only be described as a kernel panic. Fox News’ decision desk, its institutional center of authority for making sound election calls, had issued its decision. And Fox News, in its capacity as a newsgathering operation, had called the election for Obama. But Karl Rove, Fox News’ ideological paymaster, challenged the decision. So Megyn Kelly got out of her anchor chair, walked down the hall, and interrogated her own highly trained election analysts on Rove’s behalf.”
Okay, now let’s examine that tape a bit.
- (0:07-0:12) Apparently “Fair and Balanced” doesn’t apply to the riser nor stairs that the Fox News reporters navigate, as co-host Bret Baier escorts Ms. Kelley down the treacherous 2 steps on her way to confront the analysts.
(0:19 mark onward) FoxNews host Megan Kelley begins her now infamous “Walk of Shame” to “try to get to the bottom of this”.
(1:07)That awkward moment when Kelley, in a moment of unscripted ad-libbing, openly admits to the viewing audience that she- and others- had previously rehearsed and scripted this lil stunt.
We are watching the host, during Election Night coverage, get up and leave her seat, taking with her multiple camera and light crews, positioned in front and behind her. No one questions her doing this, nor seems even slightly surprised by her decision to stroll about the studio on a self-propelled field trip.
We later hear the host herself admit THAT THEY HAD REHEARSED THIS WALK BEFOREHAND, lamenting that same as before, her audio cuts out around a corner. An unidentified man speaks into the audio feed, asking if she can hear him and registers no surprise that she does not respond, nor has he spoken up questioning her before this point.
This photo found online was taken three days before the election. Note that Kelley is wearing jeans for the rehearsal but the same top as Election Night, all the better to let the audience focus on her gams.
(We’ll ignore the long established sexism within the entire network for the moment…)
What does this mean? How did the producers decide this stunt Megan Kelley pulled might prove to be necessary?
Fox News- and Karl Rove- knew the numbers in advance that they were reporting in the waning moments of the campaign season were NOT accurate and so were bracing for tremendous backlash with their audience and financial backers. They KNEW there was a strong possibility that they were going to lose- and big.
$390 MILLION dollars spent by TPTB- and they lost. Not just the White House but so many other races and decisions across the country.
So, Fox set up this ridiculous farce as CYA, damage control, a contingency plan- whatever you want to call it. The photo, dated November 4, is the smoking gun.
While others in media insist this was a moment of in-fighting, the fact remains that the photos show clearly that what happened on Election Night on FauxNews was calculated and planned.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
A shame that this didn’t come up when Bradford Littlefield and John Tuttle, running for SD 3, were recently interviewed. But it is interesting to note that Sanford’s charter draft discussions “touched a nerve” earlier this year:
… the most heated debate was among the commission members themselves, led by Margaret Trowbridge, who accused the commission of driving useless changes, breaking with tradition, and trying to take control of town government away from the public.
“I’m telling the truth, dammit!” Trowbridge shouted over the protests of commission member and Town Councilor Brad Littlefield, who chaired the meeting in absence of chairman Robert Stackpole and vice chairman Jonathan Mapes. Commission member Gerry Gay was also absent.
Here is a look back into Bradford Littlefield’s 1980 activities, also involving Sanford’s charter.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Thank you for tuning in.
It’s the height of election season, which means most of you are probably fed up with all of the political TV commercials, radio spots, and your overstuffed mail boxes.
On Tuesday, all of that will end. And this election will come down to you. The noise will stop and you will have choices to make when you enter the voting booth.
No matter what political party you belong to or who you plan to vote for, your vote matters. It counts. There is a lot at stake for our country and our state. Our state and our nation have serious challenges to address.
But we can’t do it unless we have leaders who listen to us — and to each other.
Maine needs lawmakers who work together to get our economy on track. We want results — not a partisan or extreme agenda dictated by special interests or big corporations.
We want reasonable solutions for the problems we face each day. We need good paying jobs for a hard day’s work. We need a stronger middle class – that is growing not shrinking.
A working mom or Dad should be able to go to their child’s soccer game after a hard day’s work — not head to a second or third job because they can’t earn enough at the first.
An 82 year old grandmother should not have to choose between paying for her medicine or her groceries.
No student should walk away from college or technical training because they can’t afford it. And, we need to make sure we have those engineering and technology jobs they trained for here in Maine, so they don’t have to leave the state when they graduate.
We want clean air and water so our fishermen and farmers can continue to make a living here and support the amazing Maine brand across the world.
But no one party can do it alone. We must set aside our differences to find common ground.
When you get in that voting booth, you have an opportunity to send a strong message to our leaders. A message that says you care about the future of our state and our country. And that your voice will be heard.
In Maine, we have a tradition of high voter turnout. We know how important our vote is and we won’t take it for granted.
Our voting laws ensure that Maine people can conveniently get to the polls on or before Election Day to vote. The rules for voting are simple: You have to be 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and a live in the municipality where you want to vote.
A photo ID is not required to vote. Again, you do not need a photo ID to vote.
You can register to vote on Election Day.
Do not allow anyone to intimidate and bully you at the polls. Sadly, some may try. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine will be providing voter protection services on Election Day.
Your vote matters; make it count. Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Now let’s set aside politics and the election. I want to share some information on how we can help our neighbors to the south who suffered incredible devastation from Hurricane Sandy. In most of Maine, we were fortunate to miss the worst of the storm.
Many of us want to know how we can help the families that have lost everything in the devastation. One simple and easy way each of us can help is to donate to the Red Cross. You can donate $10 by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 or visit RedCross.org.
Thank you very much for listening, I’m Rep. Emily Cain from Orono.
This video was created by the President’s re-election team from footage gathered over a 48 hour period of intensive campaign stops across the country last week. It should be noted that these trips were all scheduled and completed prior to Hurricane Sandy making landfall, which prompted President Obama to immediately suspend his campaign. He is in New Jersey today with Governor Chris Christie, surveying the damage first-hand, and will resume the campaign trail later this week.
The accompanying descriptive of the clip:
- Gotta vote? Go here: http://OFA.BO/Tm1aUv
What’s it like to travel non-stop across the country with the President of the United States? Watch this video to find out then share it with your friends:
President Obama went on a two-day, non-stop “America Forward!” tour with grassroots events in Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Ohio. The President talked about the critical choice in this election — moving America forward toward an economy built to last with a strong middle class versus going back to the same policies that crashed our economy in the first place.
This past Saturday, President Obama took one last trip to New Hampshire. I went down to Manchester and got some footage myself; photos are all available here. Here are a few of my clips.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Mitt Romney in 2011 GOP Primary Debate: Federal Disaster Relief For Tornado And Flood Victims Is ‘Immoral,’ ‘Makes No Sense At All’
Watch for yourself (h/t Think Progress).
KING: Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.
Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…
KING: Including disaster relief, though?
ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
Weekly Democratic Address by Sen. Chris Johnson (Lincoln): GOP tax policies push costs onto towns, ask taxpayers to foot the bill
When I was growing up my family watched the Wizard of OZ every year. Do you remember the scene in which the curtain is pulled aside revealing the real identity of the wizard, a man with no real wizardry, saying “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”? Well I have to tell you the curtain has been pulled aside again, this time on the economic policies and priorities of the current administration, and the GOP-led legislature.
The truth is that many Maine people are worse off, not better, and paying more for less. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Earlier this month the independent, nonpartisan organization, Maine Center for Economic Policy, released a report analyzing the tax policies and priorities of the last legislature.
Here’s what they found:
Two hundred and seventy thousand Mainers earning $42,000 or less are paying more in taxes.
The wealthiest one percent, earning more than $323,000 a year, are paying a lot less.
And our towns are forced to slash critical town services—letting our local roads crumble, closing or cutting hours at our libraries, or laying off teachers and first responders.
The problem with this slash and burn approach is that, at the end of the day, we are hurting our community. We can all agree to making government more efficient and frugal, but at some point, regardless of how much cutting you do, there is a baseline cost for keeping the lights on and the doors open.
There is a cause and effect to the Republican priority of giving tax breaks to the wealthy; pushing costs onto our towns and asking the local taxpayer to foot the bill.
They’ve created false choices—one where towns are being forced to deplete reserves, cut services, or raise property taxes. It is unfair and not sustainable.
Frankly, the conclusions of this report are not surprising. It confirms what many of us have been feeling across the state, that property taxes are increasing. Towns and taxpayers are feeling the financial squeeze like never before. We are being asked to do more with less—often with so much less, that essential services like police, fire, and rescue are on life support.
I have seen this first hand with the hard choices many of the towns in my district are faced with. Take Damariscotta. Because of the cost shift, they have proposed eliminating the police department in order to save the town money it lost in state revenue sharing. Many residents and local businesses are concerned about what this may mean for their public safety—and rightly so, especially when they have clearly stated their willingness to pay more in property taxes to keep the local police department on duty. Without the cuts from the state, Damariscotta could keep its police department and not pass along a property tax increase.
Other towns have been forced to make similar choices. Just ask Waterville Mayor Karen Heck who had to shed 14 employees as a result of less state revenue coming to her city.
It all comes down to decisions made at the state level. Governor LePage and many legislative Republicans came into office with the promise of cutting taxes, creating more jobs, and getting our economy back on track. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened. While tax cuts have been made–for some–they’ve led to property tax increases for nearly everyone. When cost shifts are ignored by policymakers in Augusta, they are turning their backs on a hard reality faced daily by Maine people. It turns into a State vs. Town game of whack-a-mole.
Since they took over, we have lost more than 2,300 jobs and we still rank at the bottom of the list for personal income growth. Their solutions for fixing Maine’s economy are in fact leaving behind middle class families, and those trying hard to stay in the middle class.
We need economic policies that encourage and prioritize investments for the very things we know will work, like investing in education, R&D, our roads, bridges and high-speed Internet. We need to encourage job growth by making sure our workforce is trained and ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow. And we also need a realistic tax program considering state and local taxes, that is fair and makes sense.
It is time to pay attention to what’s behind the curtain. It’s time to be realistic, and rely on what our own hearts, brains, and bravery tell us, not trickle-down magic.
This is State Senator Chris Johnson of Somerville. Thank you for listening and have a great weekend.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
« Previous Entries