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Democrats Release Hostages in Augusta

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I have good news from the Coliseum on the Kennebec!

The State House hostage crisis that began on February 9th in the Maine House of Representatives ended yesterday, exactly a month after it started. Democrats in the House released the badly beaten, malnourished hostages, who were rushed to an undisclosed location in the capitol for a medical evaluation. Initial reports indicate that there were no life-threatening injuries, and that the hostages will recover from the trauma of their month-long captivity.

And just exactly who were the hostages? I am referring to Maine’s long-suffering taxpayers, in particular middle-class families who work hard and play by the rules. Their prospects for finding and keeping good-paying jobs were undermined by socialist Democrat legislators who stalled tax conformity legislation that had passed unanimously in the state Senate. The legislation simply conformed Maine’s tax code to recent bipartisan, business-friendly changes to the federal tax code enacted in December. Tens of thousands of small business owners and self-employed individuals in Maine will benefit from these changes. All they’re asking for is consistency and predictability when they invest in their own businesses.

On February 9th, House Democrats gutted the legislation and attached an unrelated poison-pill amendment that raided $22 million from the state’s already depleted Rainy Day fund for increased school subsidies. The amendment was the brainchild of the Marxist Peoples Alliance, the left-wing progressive tail that wags the Democrat donkey in Maine politics.

This parliamentary maneuver – ambush by amendment — was designed to pressure the state Senate to go along with the House in order to get a scaled-down tax conformity bill passed. With the tax filing deadline looming, House Democrats were confident that Republicans in the Senate would cave, and give them what they wanted.

Meanwhile, the message from Maine to the rest of the country has been loud and clear for the past month: Maine is NOT open for business, because socialist legislators will tie you up in knots if you choose to come here to create jobs for Maine people.

But the Marxist Peoples Alliance and its disciples in the House miscalculated. They didn’t expect Republicans in the House and Senate to stand firm and insist that the House take a clean up-or-down vote on full tax conformity. But that’s what finally happened, as Democrats in the House were dragged kicking and screaming across the finish line. Yesterday, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of full conformity, after voting unanimously against full conformity a month ago.

Gov. Paul LePage also deserves enormous credit for making the Democrats take ownership of the hostage crisis. When he told them last week that he was prepared to wait until January for another shot at tax conformity, they finally understood that holding the hostages any longer was a huge mistake. Democrats cracked under the pressure.

The hostages will recover, although it will take some time to heal the wounds inflicted by socialist legislators. Paul LePage and GOP legislators will continue our work to make Maine as great a place to make a living as it is a place to live, and we will overcome the black eye that Democrats gave Maine in the eyes of the rest of the country.

But some wounds will take longer to heal.

It may take Democrats in the House some time to recover from the severe whiplash injuries they sustained in the past month. First they were whipped into line to take the hostages, and yesterday they were whipped back into line when they released the hostages. As always, they did what they were told to do by their socialist leaders.

Remember in November, Maine people. Friends don’t let friends vote Democrat.

About Larry Lockman

State Representative Larry Lockman represents Maine House District 137, which includes parts of Hancock, Washington, and Penobscot counties. He may be contacted at Lawrence.Lockman@legislature.maine.gov

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