December 13, 2017
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Be patient: Republicans are turning Maine around

By Beth A. O'Connor, Special to the BDN

As a freshman legislator, I am not an expert on all of the underpinnings of government, but Rep. Emily Cain’s words in her column “ Democrats stand up for Maine people” are not exactly precise. In fact, they are an obfuscation of what transpired.

Much was accomplished the first half of this session. Policy was crafted that will put Maine on the path of economic prosperity, prosperity that has not been forthcoming in decades despite the fact that most of the nation prospered and grew until the most recent economic downturn.

The facts are that Rep. Cain and the Democratic Party in Maine have continued to pursue a philosophy that has enslaved more and more of our citizens in a state of dependency.

Because of the policies and reforms that the Republicans have fought for in the past session, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has given Maine a rating of number one for possible economic improvement and our bond ratings have improved for the same reason. It is frustrating that the press seems to overlook our accomplishments and insists on promoting the negatives.

In six months under new vision and new leadership the present budget, which Rep. Cain to her credit voted for, has delivered an unprecedented $150 million dollar tax cut.

The Heritage Foundation has come forward to endorse and promote the health insurance reform as a model for the nation.

Republicans also ensured that our unstable pension system was rectified so state workers past, present and future will know their investments and work efforts are stable, thus delivering $1.7 billion savings for the future to the taxpayers, those pensioners included.

Three legislators voted against the BPA ban also known as the “sippy cup” legislation. I was one of those three. Rep. Cain neglects to say that the same BPA is still in aluminum cans as well as formula containers and the company Archer Daniels Midland, one of the biggest corn lobbies in the country, promoted the legislation to ban BPA because they have the replacement for it. I would be remiss if I did not say this replacement has not been tested. I speculate that Archer Daniels Midland is aware that the government boondoggle of corn ethanol in our fuel is being seriously questioned and it is likely they will need new products to cover the loss of the billions of dollars of government subsidies when people finally realize corn ethanol for what it is, wasteful.

The minimum wage argument is ridiculous. Empirical evidence has proven that every time the minimum wage is increased the poorest in our society lose jobs. This is a feel-good ploy that will deliver votes — votes bought for less than $10 on a 40-hour week.

The “ bully law,” as cited by Rep. Cain, was poorly written and needed to be rectified. As crafted, it was an assault on local control. I am confident that the Education Committee will craft a better alternative than has been presented thus far.

Bonding has become a habit in Maine. The interest paid to finance bonds through government intervention is rarely considered, nor is what will actually be spent and on what. In the private sector we ask, can we afford it? In government entities I have observed some find it very easy to spend other people’s money.

I urge Maine people to have patience and to look at both sides of every issue we face as individuals, family units and small businesses here in Maine. And please dig deeper than your local news.

A “Get Real Tour” is a good idea, as long as it is real. Paint me a skeptic.

Beth A. O’Connor, R-Berwick, represents District 145 in the Maine House of Representatives.

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