All Maine Matters

February 2006



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Designed by Laisha

Response to Baldacci's State of the State Address
By Senator Paul Davis

Shortly after his election and before he took office, the governor sat in my office and told me that he understood the poor condition of the state.

He agreed that we were the highest taxed state in the nation. He told me health insurance costs were among the highest in America. He told me the economy was poor, jobs were scarce and we lacked an energy policy.

He told me he understood Maine’s problems.

The governor asked me to help him tackle these and other problems. I agreed and did what I could to help him. Many on my side of the aisle supported him. Several of my colleagues voted for his new health plan. We all wanted our new governor to have the opportunity he needed to correct the problems he told me about.

Then, something went wrong.

The controls on spending disappeared. A new health program called Dirigo was costing millions and not providing the uninsured with good coverage at a reasonable rate. The disappearance of jobs was continuing as is the migration of our young. His energy policy is little more than constantly increasing the gas tax. To answer our criticism we heard the following.

As governor I am: Appointing a task force, Convening Blaine House Conferences, Proposing summits, Creating workforce cabinets, And establishing pilot projects

The governor’s is now blaming the federal government for all of our problems.

This line is getting old.

To govern our state by simply relying on federal government handouts is not good enough.

We must accept our challenges and get busy finding solutions.
We must make Maine more affordable for its people.
I want life in Maine to be affordable for our children and grandchildren.

The State of our State is one of great potential.
But we have some very serious concerns about the direction our state is going.

We have not lowered the cost of health insurance.

The truth is that our health insurance premiums are still among the highest in America and almost twice that of N.H. We have hardly helped the uninsured. The few hundred of newly insured by Dirigo Health cost us tens of millions. Time and again, republicans have offered positive ideas, ideas that have worked in other states, only to have them brushed away.
Worry not, we will try again.

Maine does not have an effective Energy Plan. And the hardworking people of Maine are paying the price. In addition to having one of the country’s highest gasoline taxes, our electricity costs are increasing at a staggering rate.

Energy efficiency is a key to our well-being. We need a long term strategy. A Strategy that brings all the resources of the private and public sector together.

Depending upon communist rulers and dictators for handouts and charity is not an energy policy.

We have not lowered our tax burden. We are still the highest taxed state in the nation.

The Governor has told us that the “tax burden is falling.”

The truth is that Maine people have paid more than $700 million in new taxes since the beginning of the his administration.

I doubt that many Mainers feel better about taking more money out of their wallets just because it is called fee and license increases instead of “broad-based” taxes.

The governor speaks of a new found budget surplus, well if you raise taxes enough you are sure to get a surplus sometime.

The root cause of the tax problem is excessive government spending.

If we can get spending under control, lower taxes can follow. The governor’s idea last year to find money for new spending was to borrow hundreds of millions from the retirement system that belongs not to state government but to our public employees. Borrow money to keep the lights on. Only with the threat of a peoples veto, put forward by the republicans in the legislature, did he and his allies back down while at the same time claiming great relief to have the chance to abandon the borrowing plan. Sadly, instead of doing the hard work of being fiscally responsible, they simply raised taxes to pay for excessive spending.

We compete with 49 other states for the economic development and investment that generate jobs and support families.

We spend a fortune to educate our kids, and then must send them out of Maine to find satisfying careers. That’s very sad.

We have had enough talk about creating jobs. We need action.

Maine is a beautiful state with tremendous assets. There is no reason we can’t maintain a great quality of life while also building a strong economy with good jobs and good incomes for our citizens. During my lifetime, I have learned that Mainers are tough, resourceful and independent enough to prosper if government will stay our of the way.

Tomorrow at 12 am, Thrusday, the republican leadership will hold a press conference to lay out a more detailed plan for the future of the state.

Thank you for watching. May God Bless.

Senator Davis lives with his wife in Sangerville and represents Senate District 27 and is also the Senate Minority Leader.

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