As usual, the budget comes down to crunch time
Folks, it’s déjà vu all over again.
I submitted a balanced budget in January. But—as usual—the Legislature has waited until the very last minute to get serious about it.
They are scurrying around like Keystone Cops, trying to get a budget done and get it to me with just seconds to spare. This is the fourth biennial budget of my term, and they have done this every time.
This year, however, is worse than ever. It is due in part to the inexperience in the Legislature. Too many new legislators have not participated in the budget process. They are basically clueless.
Even worse, there is a massive leadership void in the majorities of the House of Representatives and Senate. Good leaders could help guide inexperienced legislators through the budget process.
But this year’s leadership sat on their hands for six months. They spent their time pandering to special interests and posturing for the next election. Instead of trying to get their name in the papers, they should have been working on a budget that provides good public policy and affordability for Maine taxpayers.
My budget was balanced and fiscally responsible. It lowered the income tax, provided funding for much-needed education reform and limited the growth of government. My budget totaled $6.8 billion.
The Legislature is now scrambling to negotiate on three different budgets. They want to spend over $7 billion so they can increase tax and throw more money at education without any accountability.
When I created my budget, I focused on the best possible services at the most affordable costs for the hard-working taxpayers who have to pay for it. The Legislature’s budgets are focused on political ideology and favoritism. They don’t care about the enormous costs they are dumping on the next generation—they are just working for their next election.
I can work with experienced legislators, even if they are on the other side of the aisle. John Martin and Bill Diamond are Democrats, but they are experienced legislators who know how to craft a responsible budget. But the new, progressive Democrats do not listen to them or anyone but the Maine People’s Alliance.
This exposes the problem with term limits. New legislators come in and try to re-invent the wheel every session. New leaders in the Legislature are more afraid of losing their next election than doing the right thing for the Maine people.
Term limits and a socialist political ideology has erased the Legislature’s institutional memory. Democrats are no longer the party of hard-working Mainers. They are nothing more than puppets for the socialists at the Maine People’s Alliance and union bosses at the Maine Education Association.
If you are not a socialist or a union member, this Legislature is not working for you. Fortunately, House Minority Leader Ken Fredette and House Republicans are trying their best to do what’s right for the Maine people.
But as crunch time approaches, the Legislature will do what they have always done. They will come to a poorly crafted compromise late at night behind closed doors. They will raise your taxes, increase the cost of government and pander to their puppet masters.
And what about you, the hard-working Maine taxpayer? You will pay the price.