Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland) and House Speaker Mark W. Eves (D-North Berwick) held a meeting of minds and produced a predictably gushing review of the 126th Legislature. Their recent Bangor Daily News opinion editorial is, for the most part, recycled Democrat talking points and back-patting, but there are a few dubious claims worth highlighting.
“We are proud to report that with patience, persistence and a willingness to take the high road, Democrats delivered results for the people of Maine.”
Maine Democrats are a rather prideful bunch, yes, but willing to take the high road?
Is the high road the place where we stage sham press conferences, to the detriment of Maine’s students, in order to engage in political attacks?
And, given that Democrats left no energy unspent in their attempt to undermine Maine’s up-and-coming public charter schools, the high road must be a place where school choice is despised, right?
Up there on that high road, do we prevent the state’s chief executive from testifying to a legislative committee on matters of significant public interest? Is the high road the place where we accuse gubernatorial board nominees of wanting worse health care for Maine?
Obviously, everyone on the high road drives a Prius, which is why Democrats, on behalf of lobbyists, introduced tax credits designed to help rich liberals live out their green fantasies.
As for the “results” Democrats “delivered”? That will be clear on Oct. 1 when tax increases – the only thing they were actually able to deliver – take effect.
“One of the Legislature’s biggest accomplishments was passing a bipartisan, responsible state budget that protects property taxpayers from the massive tax hikes proposed by Gov. LePage while also making sure that public schools get the support they need. By passing this compromise budget, we prevented a state shutdown and protected our economy.”
Responsible? Funny, the same budget Democrats call “responsible” Moody’s rating services call “credit negative.” Clearly we’re working with two different ideas of responsibility. For Eves-Alfond, it is responsible to raise taxes in a bad economy while ignoring structurally unsustainable welfare programs – so long as it keeps the government employees’ unions happy.
Furthermore, Eves and Alfond – for the umpteen-millionth time – assert that LePage’s budget would have raised property taxes. In doing so, these Democratic leaders are either willfully deceiving the Maine people about how property taxes work or they are putting their utter ignorance of civic institutions on full display.
Simply put, property taxes are raised and collected by municipal governments, not the state. Some municipalities may have opted to raise property taxes as a result of the suspension of revenue sharing proposed by the LePage administration. Some will choose to raise property taxes as a result of the smaller reductions in revenue sharing approved by Democrats. Many would have raised property taxes even without changes to revenue sharing, just as they have for the past several decades. Regardless, it is always a city or town’s choice whether to raise property taxes. Democrats should either take a civics course or stop misleading the Maine people.
“Perhaps one of the most talked-about measures this session was the Legislature’s fight to accept federal health care dollars to expand health care. Despite gaining bipartisan support, we fell a couple votes short of ensuring that more families in Maine could have access to a family doctor.”
Having lost the battle over Medicaid expansion, Eves and Alfond now revising their linguistic playbook. Rather than talking about doubling down on a dysfunctional, costly welfare system, they write of their efforts to “expand health care” and provide “a family doctor for every family.” Clearly some Democratic consultant ran a focus-group and let them know that “family” polls well with the Maine people.
Sleek messaging will not surmount the true price tag of expanding Medicaid, which could cost Maine taxpayers $150 million per biennium over the long term. Another roadblock facing Democrats? The Maine Constitution, which prohibits the introduction of the same bill twice in the same Legislature. Rest assured that Democrats are working feverishly to outfox this inconvenient law.
“Gov. LePage senselessly vetoed this critical measure that would have saved lives, created jobs and made health care more affordable to more people.”
Senselessly? Gov. LePage vetoed this bill (the first time) because Eves and Alfond decided to play Washington, D.C.-style political games and hold a bipartisan hospital bill hostage. He vetoed it the second time because of an uncompromising federal government, the high costs for Maine and the fact that spending at the Department of Health and Human Services is already devouring the state’s budget. Despite what Democrats say about free money falling from federal coffers, Mainers will see their tax bills grow under Medicaid expansion. While Alfond and Eves were committed to giving welfare to able-bodied childless adults (such as those who use Sweetser’s services), LePage was senselessly focused on the more than 3,000 elderly and special needs individuals languishing on Medicaid waitlists.
“Additionally, Democrats were proud that Republicans joined us to make the final payment to Maine hospitals.”
Eves and Alfond soar to breathtaking new heights of mendacity. No reasonable person who observed the political debate surrounding Maine’s liquor contract and hospital debt would ever conclude that Republicans joined Democrats.
It is well known that Alfond said on camera in 2008 what Democrats really believe: paying hospitals is optional. The governor all but dragged Eves and Alfond kicking-and-screaming across the finish line. There can be no doubting that without the governor’s leadership the hospital debt would be unpaid. By attempting to take credit for a policy they had nothing to do with, Eves and Alfond are merely following in the footsteps of Gov. John Baldacci, another Democrat who tried, unsuccessfully, to take credit for LePage’s idea.