The chairman of the Maine Republican Party has called out Angus King’s former budget officer for blaming a billion-dollar deficit on 9/11.
The Angus King for Senate campaign touts on its website and social media sites an op-ed published in the Portland Press Herald by King’s former budget officer. (“Maine Voices: Former state budget officer explains, defends King’s fiscal record,” by Jack Nicholas, who served as state budget officer for Governors John McKernan and Angus King)
In what Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party, calls “a shocking display of passing the buck,” the op-ed by Nicholas blames the fiscal mess King left on the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
“On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists brought the World Trade Center crashing down, dashing America’s hopes and dreams. New York’s twin towers became a metaphorical financial bar graph. When they collapsed, so did the economy of every state, including Maine. The reverberations rocked the financial world and caused the stock market to tank, taking a major source of Maine’s income, capital gains.”
“This is a cheap shot and political excuse-making at its worst,” said Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party. “Angus King should be ashamed of himself for blaming his fiscal record on the tragedy of 9/11.”
The column attempts to make a distinction between running deficits that rack up real-time debts—like President Barack Obama is doing at the rate of $4 billion per day at the national level—and leaving future deficits, called “shortfalls,” for the next governor to deal with.
“A deficit is a deficit,” said Webster. “Maine’s working people don’t care what kind of a deficit it is, they just want fiscal responsibility and an end to the budget gimmicks and King-sized over-spending.”
The Press Herald already conducted a fact-checking analysis on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s TV ad that brought King’s billion-dollar shortfall to the forefront. The PPH concluded: “We rate these statements true.”
Former governor John Baldacci spoke on August 9 during WGAN’s Ken and Mike show about the sad state of affairs that Angus King left for him when he assumed office in 2003. “We had the highest tax burden in the country, and it was a very challenging environment,” said the former Democratic governor.
“It’s now clear that King managed the state very poorly and didn’t live up to his own campaign promise to run Maine in a financially responsible way,” said Webster.
The op-ed and King’s promotion of it is the latest in a pattern of Republicans raising facts about King’s record, then King responding to them with increasingly desperate and convoluted excuses, Webster said.
He pointed to the following sentence from the op-ed as an example of political doublespeak used to confuse citizens:
“The Bureau of the Budget issues four-year budget forecasts for the current biennium and the next biennium comparing General Fund revenue projections from the Revenue Forecasting Committee to estimates of General Fund spending based on current law.”
“This appropriations committee techno-jargon can’t hide the fact that Angus King left the next guy scrambling to cover his billion-dollar loss,” said Webster. “Maine’s working people need a senator who has a proven ability to bring down their debt, not a proven ability to make excuses.”