Did Gov. Janet Mills and legislative Democrats “nudge” the partisan budget into law last week?
That’s how the headline writers at the Bangor Daily News initially spun one of the most overtly partisan power plays in the history of Maine politics.
As the Maine Wire detailed last week, Mills and her allies in the legislature cut Republicans out of budget negotiations and pulled an elaborate parliamentary maneuver to force through $9.9 billion in spending over the next two years.
Typically, biennial budgets are negotiated in a bipartisan fashion and passed with two-thirds support of both legislative bodies.
The move was seen by veteran State House hands as a devious exploitation of Maine’s constitutionally prescribed and traditional process for passing budgets — an expression of Democrats’ willingness to use raw political power achieve spending priorities.
For whoever is writing headlines at the Bangor Daily News, though, that acrimonious process was a “nudge.”
Someone else must have been paying closer attention to the political reality, however, because the headline was quickly changed to “ram,” a verb that more accurately reflects how Democrats in Augusta allocated $9.9 billion in tax dollars.
The story, written by BDN’s Michael Shepherd, is a fair and accurate portrayal of what happened, which makes the headline all the more bizarre.
If you didn’t know any better, you might think an editor at the BDN was trying to spin a version of events that looked better for Gov. Mills and Democratic lawmakers.
You also might think they’ve been avoiding acknowledging the WVOM interview in which Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) invented fake GOP tax proposals in order to pretend like Republicans were pushing tax cuts for the wealthy.