Maine Democrats Hold Better Deal Town Hall in Brunswick (VIDEOS)

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

alfFrom the event page (photos here):

    Join House Speaker Mark Eves and Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond for the third town hall meeting on the Better Deal for Maine plan. The Better Deal for Maine rejects Governor Paul LePage’s trickle-down economics. It is a tax reform plan that grows the economy from the middle out, not the top down. It cuts taxes for the middle class, lowers property taxes for all Maine homeowners and invests in Maine schools, workers and communities.

    Read the full plan here:

Below are the videos of the full event, held at the UU Church in Brunswick last night. Attendance was high and the questions ranged from the Democrats’ plan to other issues being weighed in the Legislature and Augusta currently. Unlike the Governor’s events, neither the questions nor people asking them were not screened before speaking.

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Weekly Democratic Address by House Asst Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): MAINE NEEDS AN EFFECTIVE CEO

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

    LePage’s watch marked by mismanagement and crisis

jeff mccabeGovernor Paul LePage tells us he’s a businessman. He describes himself as a turnaround specialist, as someone who’s got the know-how to make good things happen for our state.

But the reality is that Maine has not fared well under his rule.

Good morning, I’m Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan. Thank you for tuning in.

Governor LePage is the chief executive of our state – our CEO, if you will. But I ask you, has he been an effective one?

Maine’s economy has suffered on his watch.

Our state was the worst in the nation when it comes to private sector job growth. More children are living in poverty – the number has grown to one in four Maine children. Families are working harder but making less. And just this week, we learned that Maine lost manufacturing jobs for the third year in a row.

Governor LePage says he knows how to grow an economy. Is this what he meant? Seems to me that this is hardly a record to brag about.

Maine needs real leadership to get its economy moving again. But instead, we’re seeing mismanagement and crisis at every turn.

There’s his $1 million no-bid contract to a political ally – one who didn’t turn in his work in on time and made a huge math error. There’s the federal investigation into his interference with unemployment hearing officers. There’s the document shredding scandal.

And there’s his refusal to work with the Legislature on a state budget – a major part of his job description as chief executive.

And now, Governor LePage is playing political games with our economy again. He is preventing Mainers from working by refusing to release voter-approved bonds.

The governor signed off on bonds that would create jobs and put money into our economy. We’re talking about projects that improve our roads and bridges and help colleges and universities train workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

But then the governor decided to change his mind – even though the money has already started flowing to projects. Shovel-ready projects – like an expansion at Maine Maritime Academy — are at risk. Workers should be putting on their tool belts but now the governor is keeping them waiting in the cold.

What kind of CEO reneges on these kinds of business commitments? What kind of CEO refuses to pay his bills?

I’ll tell you: a bad CEO.

This latest crisis came up after lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to keep the state’s funding promise to local communities. This longstanding arrangement gives back a portion of sales and income tax revenue to towns and cities. Revenue sharing helps our local communities pay for services like schools, police and road maintenance while keeping property taxes from spiking.

When he was a mayor, Governor LePage recognized the value of protecting communities and their property taxpayers. But these days, he’s talking out of the other side of his mouth.

The governor claims he’s acting this way because he doesn’t like part of the plan to protect revenue sharing. He’s trying to blame the use of the rainy day fund even though the plan maps out how it would be replenished – and even though he’s used a lot more of it himself in the past.

A few days ago, the governor slammed Democrats for supporting revenue sharing. He seemed surprised to learn than Republicans were part of the overwhelming veto-proof majorities that supported the critical measure to prevent property tax spikes.

It would be kind of funny, if it wasn’t so scary that he doesn’t know what’s going on right upstairs from his office.

Because he knows he lost on revenue sharing, he’s decided to hold bonds hostage.

It defies common sense – and business sense. Maine needs more predictability from its CEO.

Call the governor – your state’s CEO – and tell him to release the bonds so Mainers can get back to work.

Thank you for listening. This is Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan.

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Maine’s First Family Hosts 3rd Annual Blaine House Food Drive, Gives Personal Tours to Visitors

Posted on October 15, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

The First Family is hosting the Third Annual Blaine House Food Drive on three consecutive Saturdays during the month of October: Oct. 12, Oct. 19 and Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mainers will have an opportunity to bring a food donation, receive a tour of the Blaine House led by Governor Paul R. LePage and enjoy light refreshments.

foodLePage has also issued a “Food Drive Challenge” to Maine Chambers of Commerce. In a letter issued to the chambers, the governor encouraged participation in a local food drive throughout the month of October. Chambers that participate will have a chance to host a “Business After Hours” event at the Blaine House.

    “As our holiday season approaches, it is very important that we remember those who are less fortunate,”
    LePage said in a release. “The first lady and I will be hosting Blaine House food drives, but I am encouraging local chambers to get involved and help out their local food pantries or homeless shelters.”

    “We are a small state with big hearts,”
    said the governor’s wife, Ann LePage. “In our family, we have taught our children that giving is more important than receiving. Giving money is great, but giving your time is just as valuable. So we encourage Mainers to consider volunteering at a shelter, food pantry or soup kitchen. It’s a great gift to give.”

lepage blaineWhile all offerings are gratefully accepted, there is a great need for infant formula and baby food this year according to First Lady Ann LePage.

Gov. Paul LePage provided history lessons about some of the artifacts found within the Blaine House while leading tours during the open house and in this photo, sat at former Maine Governor James Blaine’s senatorial desk in the Blaine Study.

Besides being a Senator, Blaine was Speaker of the House, an 1884 Republican presidential candidate, US Secretary of State and part-owner of the Kennebec Journal. Among the room’s artifacts is a hand-written note on the back of a business card given to Blaine by President Abraham Lincoln dated April 7, 1865. The note was to ensure Blaine safe passage from DC’s City Point to Richmond and back during wartime.

sideGovernor LePage took the visitors into another room with a billiards table and spoke of playing a game against a visiting professional player from Finland. He also showed a rather new piece to the room- a handsome oak sideboard made by LePage himself back in the 1980s. Apparently wood working has been a hobby of his for 35 years.

This past Saturday marked the first of the three weekends set aside for the donations. The food, said Lauren LePage, the governor’s daughter and assistant to his chief of staff, will go to the Auburn-based Good Shepherd Food Bank, which will distribute the food where it is most needed statewide. According to both Governor Paul and First Lady Ann LePage, the first open house day saw a much heavier volume of generous donations than in past years with the Governor remarking that in the past, the last day has usually seen the most visitors.

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Speaker Mark Eves Launches Series of Round Table Discussions on Aging And Impact on Maine’s Future

Posted on September 10, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Charles Colgan, economist and professor at the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service, addresses the panel.

Charles Colgan, economist and professor at the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service, addresses the panel.

Today Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N Berwick) met at the Augusta Civic Center with more than 60 representatives of business, health care, education and workforce fields, state agencies and local municipal officers in the first of four scheduled discussion panels targeting Maine’s aging population and many of the challenges facing the state.

Maine is the oldest state in the nation and its older population is growing rapidly, with the most recent US census data showing more than 20% of the state’s population is 60 or older. By 2030, it is estimated that one in four Mainers will be over the age of 65 and from 1990-2009, people age 85 and older grew by 58 percent.

This rapid aging of Maine’s population and its impact on our economy, care giving, employers, along with the shrinking younger workforce will be among the focuses of the panel discussions. Among the goals of the Speaker’s Round Table on Aging in Maine is the beginning of crafting comprehensive strategies to address these challenges and opportunities.

DSC_0011From Eves’ prepared remarks:

    “The rapid aging of Maine’s population has an impact on our economy, public health, caregivers, employers, and our workforce. Addressing the impacts of Maine’s aging population is a policy imperative.

    Whether you are among the aging population increasingly needing health care or a family member caring for a parent or an employer looking at a retiring workforce, Maine’s shifting demographics will impact all of us. We must look at these challenges and shift the conversation away from simply how to manage long term care.

    We need a new dialogue about how to create a state that embraces older citizens. We must expand opportunities for older people in areas such as housing, transportation, and the workforce.”

Professor Charles Colgan addressed some of the concerns regarding the lack of young people within the state’s work force:

    “People assume that if we could just keep our young people here, it would solve the problem,” said Colgan. “There are not half enough of them because not enough young people are born here. We have to get people from other places to move here. We’ve got to get more people in.”

    Colgan, who is regarded as one of the state’s most experienced economists, estimates that in addition to keeping Mainers from moving away, the state must attract at least 3,000 new residents a year for the next 20 years in order to sustain the state’s workforce.

    “Unless we can get productivity to exceed the increased cost in workers, we will suffer competitively in the long run,”
    said Colgan. “The issue here is not just the wages, not just the physical number of people. We are going to have to have smarter, quicker and more productive workers. If we cannot compete on quantity, we are going to have to compete on quality.”

The speaker took a few moments to meet with the media for a quick question and answer session; video below.

The Speaker’s Round Table on Aging in Maine is sponsored in partnership with Maine Council on Aging and the John T. Gorman Foundation. The next meeting will be held on Oct. 1.

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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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Weekly Address of President Obama: Congress Should Keep America Moving Forward

Posted on October 6, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Hi, everybody. Four years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, we’re seeing signs that, as a nation, we’re moving forward again.

After losing about 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, our businesses have now added 5.2 million new jobs over the past two and a half years. And on Friday, we learned that the unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since I took office. More Americans are entering the workforce. More Americans are getting jobs.

But too many of our friends and neighbors are still looking for work or struggling to pay the bills – many of them since long before this crisis hit.

We owe it to them to keep moving forward. We’ve come too far to turn back now. And we’ve made too much progress to return to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

For example – two years ago, we put in place tougher, commonsense rules of the road for Wall Street to make sure that the kind of crisis we’ve been fighting back from never happens again.

These rules mean that big banks are no longer going to be able to make risky bets with your deposits. And if a big bank does make a bad decision, they pay for it – not taxpayers.

And we also put in place the strongest consumer protections in our history to crack down on the worst practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders.

But for some reason, some Republicans in Congress are still waging an all-out battle to delay, defund and dismantle these commonsense new rules.

Why? Do they think undoing rules that protect families from the worst practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders will make the middle class stronger? Do they think getting rid of rules to prevent another crisis on Wall Street will make Main Street any safer?

Republicans in Congress need to stop trying to refight the battles of the past few years, and finally start doing something to actually help the middle class get ahead.

And here are three things they can do right now.

First, Congress needs to step up and guarantee that 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners won’t see their taxes go up next year. This is something that everyone says they agree on. It should have gotten done months ago. But Republicans in Congress are standing in the way. They’re holding tax cuts for 98% of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Ask them how that helps the middle class.

Second, Congress needs to step up and provide every responsible homeowner a chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at lower rates. I gave them a plan to do that – back in February. It’s a plan that has the support of independent, nonpartisan economists and leaders across the housing industry. But Republicans won’t even let that plan come to a vote. Ask them how that helps homeowners.

Third, Congress needs to step up and pass my plan to create a veterans jobs corps to help our returning heroes find work as cops, firefighters and park rangers in communities across the country. A few weeks ago, Republicans in the Senate voted that plan down. Ask them why someone who fights for this country abroad should have to fight for a job when they come home.

Ask them to get back to work and get these things done. If we’re going to keep this economy moving forward, there’s no time for political games. Even in a political season. Everyone needs to do their part. If you agree with me, let your Representative know where you stand. Tell them that if they want your vote, then they need to stand with you and not in the way of our recovery.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

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Weekly Address of President Obama: Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

Posted on September 22, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Hi, everybody. Last week, without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now.

If that frustrates you, it should – because their work isn’t finished.

See, when they skipped town, Members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table – actions that would create jobs, boost our economy, and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours.

Right now, if Congress had done the right thing, we could be on our way to having a veterans’ jobs corps that helps returning heroes find work as cops and firefighters in communities all across the country. These men and women have made incredible sacrifices for our country. They shouldn’t have to worry about finding a job when they get home. But last week, Republicans in Congress voted it down. And then they left.

Right now, if Congress had gotten its act together, we would have a farm bill to help farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer. And we’d have made necessary reforms to give our rural communities some long-term certainty. But so far, Republicans in Congress have dragged their feet. And now they’re gone.

Right now, if Congress had acted, thousands of responsible homeowners could be saving an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates. But instead, Republicans in Congress decided that working families could wait. And now they’ll have to wait a little longer.

And finally, if Congress had listened to you, they could have given 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners a guarantee that your taxes won’t go up next year by a single dime. This is something we all agree on. It should have gotten done a long time ago. But Republicans in Congress have refused to budge. They’re holding tax cuts for 98% of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. And now middle-class families and small business owners are left wondering what their tax bill will look like next year.

All of these ideas would strengthen our economy and help the middle class right now. All of them are supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents. There’s no reason to wait.

That’s why, after going home and listening to their constituents for a few weeks, Members of Congress should come back in November and do this work. They should do the right thing for veterans and farmers; for responsible homeowners and small businesses; for Americans everywhere who are just trying to get ahead.

And if you agree with me, I need your help. Tell your Members of Congress you can’t afford to wait any longer. If you get an answering machine, leave a message. If you see them campaigning back home, tell them in person. Because there’s been enough talk. It’s time for action. That’s what you deserve, and that’s what it’s going to take to move this country forward.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.


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