A spending problem
This week I held a press conference with my Republican colleagues in Augusta to express concerns about the direction we are heading this session. We highlighted nearly 50 bills submitted with the potential to significantly damage Maine’s economy.
Eight years ago, Republicans inherited a budget deficit of $800 million. Taxes were too high, our bills weren’t being paid and we had no savings to speak of. Put simply, our state government was living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Through hard work and a lot of tough decisions, we were able to turn things around by the end of 2018, with nearly $300 million in savings and more than $120 million in the checking account. That prosperity has continued with revenues exceeding projections by $40 million last month.
Gov. Janet Mills’ $800 billion budget fails to set clear priorities and spends nearly every penny to our name. In spite of her promise not to increase taxes, her budget relies on one-time funding sources that will result in tax increases down the line.
Legislative Democrats have proposed a host of unnecessary tax increases on everything from heating fuel (1% tax) and gasoline (6.5₵ increase) to wine (66.6% increase) and beer (21% increase).
Maine people already pay more than their fair share of taxes; we have the dubious reputation of having the third-highest tax burden in the country.
We don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. And if we fail to keep it in check, we will continue to hemorrhage young families and jobs.
Senate Republican Leader
Paying for my abortion
A year and half ago I found myself unexpectedly pregnant in New York. My partner and I knew we would end the pregnancy, but my private insurance didn’t cover abortion services. I was financially strained as it was, and paying for my abortion was an additional stressor as I worried how I was going to afford this much needed care.
Fortunately, I qualified for New York’s version of Medicaid, which covers abortion. I had the insurance coverage I needed that I fear women in Maine do not currently have.
Not only does Maine’s Medicaid program deny coverage for abortion services, private insurances that cover maternity services are not required to cover abortions. This is a barrier for many women, just as it would have been for me if I wasn’t living in a state that saw this barrier and addressed it.
Maine needs to do the same by passing LD 820, which requires public and private insurance to cover abortion care. Women in Maine deserve to decide their reproductive health care and feel supported while being treated with the dignity that I was fortunate to experience in New York.
In defense of Ilhan Omar
Last month, Ilhan Omar awkwardly but factually spoke publicly about Muslims in the United States being recipients of racial targeting after 9/11. FBI hate crime data backs that up. In 2001, there were 481 hate crimes toward Muslims. From 2002 to 2014 there was a minimum of 105 hate crime incidents toward Muslims every year.
Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw used Twitter to attack her, implying Omar has a lack of awareness about the severity of the 9/11 attacks by saying, “First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something.’ Unbelievable.”
But Crenshaw has thus-far declined to be a co-sponsor for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund bill. Does he have interest in genuinely helping people, or only in scoring political capital through fear mongering? Have no doubt: 9/11 was a heinous act by terrorists who wish to divide us with fear. However, Crenshaw is buying into that division. He’s using his public platform to baselessly imply Omar, a Muslim woman, has no regard for the 9/11 attacks.