During every campaign, candidates of both parties promise to fight for jobs and to listen to the voters once the election is over. This year in Maine, it is clear that only one party really means it.
Maine Republicans have long argued that the policies of the Democrats who have dominated the Legislature since 1974 are taking Maine in the wrong direction. Over the years, they have racked up $9 billion in debt, passed hundreds of new taxes and fees and imposed a complicated array of burdensome regulations that hurt Maine businesses and stifle job creation.
In recent years, an increasingly arrogant Democratic majority in Augusta has repeatedly demonstrated just how badly out of touch they are with Maine people. Two recent examples, in particular, have increased public awareness about the true nature of their policies.
In 2008, on a straight party-line vote, Democrats in the Legislature rammed through unpopular new taxes on health care claims and beverages. Fed up with taxes, Mainers exercised their constitutional right to launch a people’s veto, in which 65 percent of Maine voters rejected the Democrats’ new taxes.
Likewise, the very next year, when the public demand for relief from Maine’s high income tax became too strong to ignore, Democrats responded not with a straightforward reduction in the income tax, but with a scheme to combine a modest reduction in the income tax with a massive expansion of the sales tax on more than 100 services such as car repairs. Maine voters wisely saw through the ploy. Another people’s veto arose, and this June, after a hard-fought campaign, an overwhelming 61 percent of Maine voters once again rejected new taxes passed by Democrats.
In twice repudiating taxes pushed through by out-of-touch Democrats, Maine voters have sent a powerful message. After 36 years in the majority and eight years of complete one-party control of the Blaine House, Senate and House of Representatives, Democrats have lost their way.
As the minority in Augusta, Maine Republicans have opposed new taxes, have pushed to ease the regulatory burden that drive jobs out of Maine and have fought the Democrats’ borrowing proposals that leave the tab for future generations to pay.
Time after time, common-sense Republican initiatives to strengthen Maine’s business climate and encourage job growth have been defeated by Democrats in party-line votes.
So this year, when you hear candidates promise to fight for jobs and listen to the voters once the election is over, consider the record. Albert Einstein famously said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
After electing Democrats over and over again, it’s time for a new direction in Augusta. Choose common-sense solutions for Maine’s future. Vote Republican.
Kevin Raye of Perry represents Senate District 29 and serves as Maine’s Senate Republican Leader.