This November, keep the reform coming

By Rod Hathaway, Special to the BDN
Posted July 06, 2012, at 1:40 p.m.

Maine Speaker Robert Nutting’s recent column, “Leadership Change

Paying Off” (BDN, June 24) hit the nail on the head. After decades of one-

party rule, Maine’s change of direction under Republican leadership is paying dividends. Taxes are lower, regulations have been trimmed, spending has been tamed, health insurance costs are receding and unemployment is going down.

These are just a few of the accomplishments that fresh, Republican ideas have made possible. But we can’t stop now.

We have a long way to go, and that is why I am running for the State

Senate in District 30, which encompasses towns from Veazie and Orono to

Mattawamkeag and Springfield. I am running against the old guard Democratic establishment that presided over an unprecedented growth in state spending and taxation.

These policies of the past have driven jobs and people out of Maine

because they do not place economic growth as their No. 1 priority.

My vision is inspired by my experience as a businessman and my

concern for my son, daughter-in-law and grandchild. The people I speak with all agree: their children want to stay in Maine — it is the best place in the country in which to raise children and live a happy, safe life — but they invariably move to greener economic pastures.

That is why it is so important to put Maine on a stronger footing for job growth and opportunity for all. What we need is common sense solutions for the working people of Maine.

When Maine had the ninth highest income tax rate in the country and

Republicans trimmed it back modestly from 8.5 to 7.95 percent, my opponent, Rep. Emily Cain, said, “My caucus hates these tax cuts. It hates them.”

Those tax cuts will put hundreds of dollars back into the pockets of the average Maine working family this year alone. That’s money for college textbooks, Christmas presents for the family or a new lawnmower.

In fact, those tax cuts didn’t go far enough. Mainers have been shipping more and more money off to Augusta with worse results year after year, and most Mainers I speak to would like to see our income tax at least approach the national norm in the near future.

We made a big step forward with spending reform as well.

MaineCare, a program that has grown 78 percent in the past 10 years and has been responsible for spending surprises requiring supplemental budgets every year, is finally hearing the word “no.”

Fortunately, Republican reforms to Maine’s health insurance market are yielding lower and lower premiums so people have an affordable alternative to medical welfare while our neighbors most in need have

a more sustainable program to support them.

We need to rein in state spending in this and other programs so that we can further ease our tax burden and debt levels.

Wouldn’t it be nice to pay for infrastructure projects out of our budget

instead of constantly going deeper into debt just to be able to drive on decent roads?

Regulatory reform is also paramount.

I see it all the time in my work — we spend as much time making the government happy as we do making our customers happy. That can’t continue. In order for Maine to be a place where businesses flock to and stay, our state government needs to impose less paperwork, fewer fees, and fewer committees and hearings to keep constant watch on the every move of those of us who are simply trying to turn a profit and keep the paychecks coming to our employees.

Reform alone, however, isn’t always enough. New jobs require bold

new initiatives. The Legislature passed a bill this year to study the feasibility of an east-west highway. Job creators have been espousing this route for years as a way to move goods more quickly between Atlantic Canada and the interior states and provinces.

The privately funded and operated highway would drive economic growth throughout my senate district as construction jobs open up and travelers pass through parts of Maine that haven’t seen new customers in a long

time.

If elected to the Legislature, this project will have my support.

These are just a few of the many reasons why we need to continue our

change of direction in Augusta.

Mainers need a government that implements common sense solutions for working people, not tired old ideas for the politically connected.

Republicans have kept the promises they made in 2010, and they won’t stop now.

Rod Hathaway of Veazie is the Republican candidate for State Senate District 30.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/06/opinion/this-november-keep-the-reform-coming/ printed on August 27, 2014