Republicans must part ways with governor

With the budget debate in Augusta approaching a climax, it is worth remembering where we started:

File photo

Gov. Paul LePage

In January, Gov. Paul LePage proposed raising local taxes to balance the state's budget.

He proposed ending the Homestead Property Tax Exemption for those under 65. A clear tax increase for homeowners.

The governor proposed ending the Circuit Breaker property tax refund used by 90,000 Maine households. Another tax increase.

He proposed raising taxes on corporations like Shaw's, L.L. Bean and most of the paper mills in the state by ending for one year the equipment tax reimbursements known as BETR. Another tax increase.

Under a bill signed May 30, the governor will require school districts like Lewiston and Auburn to raise property taxes for schools or eventually face the loss of state support. 

Finally, the governor's proposal would require local property tax increases to make up for revenue sharing cities and towns had formerly received or suffer the loss of local services.

Yet, four months later, the governor continues to pretend he is against raising taxes.

We are sure Grover Norquist would agree that eliminating a tax break is the same thing as raising a tax.

All of which leaves the Legislature with two unpleasant choices: either raise some statewide tax or swallow hard and accept the governor's plan to raise local property taxes.

A sensible thing might have been to revisit the Legislature's decision in 2011 to cut the state's income tax rate, a tax cut which is not yet in place.

For whatever reason, Democrats unilaterally took that option off the table Tuesday.

Delaying those cuts for two years could have solved half of the state's $800 million budget problem.

This was doubly weird because Democrats on the Taxation Committee had announced just last week that they favored delaying the income tax cut by two years.

Democrats could have argued that the national economy is improving and that the state might be better positioned in two years to deliver on the income tax break.

Now, Democrats will be facing the same criticism they have been hurling at Republicans since the beginning of the session, that they are paying for an income tax cut by raising property taxes.

Now, if the governor gets his way, when the property tax increases and municipal service cuts occur, Democrats won't even be able to say they went down fighting.

If this whole dance looks familiar, it's because we are approaching the sort of standoff we see in Washington all the time.

The only difference: Maine can't magically raise its debt limit and borrow more money.

If the state doesn't have a budget in place when the old one expires at the end of this month, the bills don't get paid and the government shuts down.

So, on one side we have a group of Democrats who have already shown they are willing to compromise.

On the other, we have a governor we all know would rather cut off his right hand than sign any tax increase proposed by a Democrat.

Both Republicans and Democrats know shifting this problem back to local government and property taxpayers is wrong. It is an abdication of responsibility that would make this state even more reliant on property taxes when we should be going in the opposite direction.

So far, legislative Republicans have shown no stomach for defying the governor, regularly going back on previous votes to avoid overriding the governor.

It's time they look themselves in the mirror, think of the impact of the governor's plan on their property taxpayers and communities, and find a way forward without the governor's blessing.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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Comments

Jim Durfee's picture

The Dance

Agree - completely with the ownership and editorial board's assessment. The dance, a Tango, by all accounts has taken on the appearance of the governor's and if they're not careful the legislature's death march of small rural towns.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Has Beens

When they said the Grand Old Party they were putting emphasis on Old.

Grand Obsolete Party....is next in line.....

Steve  Dosh's picture

. . Jer ? L O L :D

. . Jer ? L O L :D posted Thurday night 21:50 HST ?
The GOP's fanatical right wing reactionary tea party aren't ' has beens .'
They are ' never was's ' [ sic. ]
You can quote me on that Sarah Palin , John " I was there , heard everything , did nothing , wrong , " McCain and Michelle Bachman
/s , Steve
" Just sweeping up after the elephants ."

Maine is a Microcosm of Corporate Fascism

Fascism: A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism, and often racism.

In 2003 Sheldon Wolin opens his article “Inverted Totalitarianism”[1] with,
The war on Iraq has so monopolized public attention as to obscure the regime change taking place in the Homeland. We may have invaded Iraq to bring in democracy and bring down a totalitarian regime, but in the process our own system may be moving closer to the latter and further weakening the former.

Totalitarianism is the centralized control of an autocratic authority, the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority.
Sheldon Wolin further makes the following observations in his article:

Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans.

The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security.

Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media.

Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media’s reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment.

What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic.
These observations, Mr. Wolin notes are of a political system he calls “inverted totalitarianism”.

Under Nazi rule “big business” was subordinated to the political regime. In the United States, however, corporate power has become so predominant in the political establishment, particularly in the Republican Party, and so dominant in its influence over policy, as to suggest a role inversion the exact opposite of the Nazis’. Quite a bold statement and no doubt discounted in many corners ten years ago, but today?

Returning to the definition of Fascism and filling in the blanks we have
Corporate Fascism:

A governmental system led by a dictator (Big Banks, Big Oil); having complete power (purchased through Citizens United, lobbyists); forcibly suppressing opposition (anti-union); and criticism (controlled media, Rupert Murdoch); regimenting all industry (right to work); commerce (Wal-Mart, Koch Bothers); and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism (anti-immigration, NRA, military spending); and often racism.

It is time we stop the name calling, the finger-pointing, and fear mongering; and began addressing the real problem that exists. GREED

Greed unchecked in the private sector results in the removal of all services, greed unchecked in the public sector results in excessive waste, and greed unchecked in the individual results in an over use of services; entitlement becomes the norm.

The pendulum has swung. Remove the obscene and over indulgent military spending and what you have left is a private sector that has over reached and outdistanced exponentially any past degrees of waste in the public sector.

Greed will always be with us and with that a requirement for an economic model that provides checks and balances without impacting creative entrepreneurs from enhancing the quality of our lives.

Capitalism in its present form, does not work.

[1] http://www.thenation.com/article/inverted-totalitarianism

Jim Durfee's picture

Hammer on Fascism

Striking squarely on the head works for me and one sharp blow will cure just about anything!

Steve  Dosh's picture

Tom ? 22:00 hst ?

Tom ? 22:00 hst ? Thursday
Capitalism in its present form , does work , and it works well , except in the gerintocracy known as communist China where is it better known as directed capitalism . Russia is a cleptocracy . North Korea , Iran , Syria , Cuba , Yemen , and most of Somalia are our enemies . You should know this . Evil ( like greed ) exists
The Nation is a good rag . . So is the LSJ® and http://www.la-mag.com/that-explains-it/ . They provide us ( you and me ) with ƒree and capitalist funded soap box forums to stand upon in their roles as the Fourth Estate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Estate
Q: Where do you work and what's your solution , again , to all these pressing problems ?
A: __________________________________________________________________ ?
http://www.occupytogether.org/spreadtheword/
Work is work . Not working is laziness , many times .
Work makes the economic pie get bigger ( Macro 101 ) . People who do not
Work are simply eating from that pie
Be thankful . The business of America is business
Happy D-Day remembrance
/s Dr. Dosh former Brookings analyst , http://www.brookings.edu i.e., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookings_Institution a DC think tank on Mass. Ave , FSO ( ret .) and RPCV micro'78 http://www.peacecorps.gov
You , too , can \/olunteer . ..

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Writing is on the bathroom stalls, worst Congress ever, Boehner

Just 6 percent of voters give Congress a positive job rating, according to polling released Wednesday.

One percent think Congress is doing an excellent job and 5 percent think it's doing a good job, a Rasmussen Reports survey found. Twenty-six percent rated Congress' performance as fair, and 64 percent said it's doing poorly.

Voters were only slightly less lukewarm toward their own representatives: 33 percent said their representatives deserve to be reelected, while 36 percent said they don't and 31 percent weren't sure.

National Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters
Conducted June 2-3, 2013
By Rasmussen Reports

GREED is easily argued to be

GREED is easily argued to be society’s greatest vice; the appetite for more of everything, McMansions, Defense Contracts, and Tax Subsidies.

A study by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation for the years 1990 to 2007:[2]
?
- The proportion of after-tax income for the top 1% as compared to total after-tax income increased from 11% to 17%.
- The proportion of after-tax income for the remaining 99% as compared to total after-tax income decreased from 89% to 83%.

And what is the effect of the income shift towards the top with respect to political influence?

In the 2012 study, “Does Less Income Mean Less Representation”[4] by Eric Brunner, Stephen L. Ross, and Ebonya Washington described how Republicans more often vote the will of their higher income constituents; Democratic legislators do the reverse.

Yet recently a group of 80 CEOs went before Congress stating the need to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while lowering tax rates for millionaires, billionaires, and the largest corporations in America.[5] These are some of the same CEOs who head corporations that:

- Received a total taxpayer bailout of more than $2.5 trillion from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department and nearly caused the economy to collapse just four years ago.
- Avoided at least $34.5 billion in taxes by setting up more than 600 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and other offshore tax havens since 2008.
- A dozen of these companies paid no corporate income taxes in at least one year since 2008, while receiving more than $6.4 billion in tax refunds from the IRS, after making billions in profits.

- In 2010, Bank of America operated 371 subsidiaries incorporated in offshore tax havens, more than any other financial institution in the United States. 204 of these subsidiaries are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, which has a corporate tax rate of 0%.
- During the financial crisis, JP Morgan Chase received a total of more than $391 billion in virtually zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve and a $25 billion bailout from the Treasury Department, while Jamie Dimon served as a director of the New York Federal Reserve.
- During the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve provided GE with $16 billion in financial assistance, at a time when Jeffrey Immelt was a director of the New York Federal Reserve.

In other words, these are some of the same people who have significantly caused the deficit to explode over the last four years.

The role of government is to defend its citizens from those whose greed of corporate profit and personal gain is insatiable. If not then under the guise of deficit reduction greed results in the removal of all services, eliminating the middle class and working class; and causing society to lose all hope. When hope is lost, rationalization of food, alcohol, religion, and material consumption is taken to their extremes. Social genocide at its finest!

“The more corrupt the republic, the more numerous the laws” – Tacitus[6]

[2] Peter G. Peterson Foundation; http://www.pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0022_top-income-growth.aspx
[4] http://www.econ.yale.edu/faculty1/washington/less-income.pdf
[5] “Top Corporate Tax Dodgers”; Bernie Sanders, Senator of Vermont; http://www.sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/102512%20-%20JobDestroyers3.pdf
[6] Tacitus; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Republicans love these guys?

group of 80 CEOs went before Congress are the largest leeches on America.....

Amedeo Lauria's picture

The Governor knows...

what the left does not; specifically, we must live within our means and what we can afford; especially given the state of the economy and the unwillingness of our President to form and execute a clear energy policy; driving average citizens to borrow money to heat homes in the northeast.

Responsible Americans know this. Irresponsible ones continue to borrow recklessly then blame it on "predatory" lenders. What hogwash. Quit shifting, make the cuts and let's prioritize and live within our means.

First we had the mortgage nightmare...now it looks like the same thing is happening in the student loan area; those that borrowed over their heads don't want to pay! Simple amazing.

Currently, on the national level, we have an administration that is using our Constitution. like a mail-order catalog in an outhouse.

I for one have had enough smoke and mirrors from Augusta and Washington this legislative session. I will express my displeasure in November 2013 and 2014; hope everyone else does as well.

You go Governor!

MARK GRAVE's picture

It is amazing how many people

It is amazing how many people reject spending within our means. It makes me wonder what they are getting from taxpayers?

RONALD RIML's picture

You've just described the Republican Congress:

"those that borrowed over their heads don't want to pay!"

Gutless B**tards are afraid to restore taxes to their previous levels.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Let’s cut taxes, spending,

Let’s cut taxes, spending, and government at all levels.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

You go Governor! Hear that! He is on his way!

Listen to the flushing sound of LePage as he and your groupies of asskissing rich folks agendas going down the toilet bowl with the rest of those repubs that carry that same stench of screwing the working people for the rich takers and tax evaders.

Absolutely, we will all be at those polls putting your ilk back under their rocks where they belong.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Jerry, Who do you think

Jerry,
Who do you think stimulates the economy more, people at, below the poverty level, or above the poverty level?
Some call it greed, but that human emotion drives people to create business and jobs.
Lastly, everyone talks like there is the supper rich and the poor. This is still a significantly large middle class in this country and that group is carrying the burden of government spending.

the media vs. the math

ALL federal, state, county, and municipal bills are paid from one wallet ... the one belonging to each taxpayer.
For every $2 Mainers pay to Washington, $3 is sent to Augusta by D.C. and thus Maine is a welfare state of the United States ... taxpayers. Add to this, that 40 cents of every dollar D.C. spends each year, including money sent to Augusta, is ... borrowed and thus MORE UNAFFORDABLE DEBT for everyone in our nation and in Maine.
D.C. is cutting the money it sends to Augusta as is desperately tries to juggle who will get how much of their always too little money. Any poor or very nearly bankrupt person can tell you how this game works. The U.S. is not poor but the U.S. government is very nearly bankrupt.
Maine municipalities were never getting some kind of "Maine magic dollars" from Augusta that miraculously somehow did not come from taxpayers' money or debt.
"Government" money, payments, and grants are ALL ... YOUR MONEY or YOUR DEBT ... only from our wallets and only from the debt of your grandchildren and their grandchildren. It does not matter which level of government spending and government debt ... one way or another ... only WE taxpayers always pay.
Oh, and sure you can tax "bad old business" more. Business will add that to their cost of doing business and ... only WE consumers always pay.
Any media that "reports" that a governor or someone else in government is unfairly shifting costs to people (taxpayers) ... where they live ... is at best being disingenuous and in fact being typical of most sensationalist media "outrage" that is sadly so hollow.

MARK GRAVE's picture

It is amazing how many people

It is amazing how many people are willing to push debt on future generations for “free” stuff today.
The word free is in quotes because we really know nothing is really free.

Jim Durfee's picture

Done the math

And until people become involved and educated in the process of electing sound management the game will remain a crap shoot.

Additional data for your consideration

Arthur - See my comments recently posted. Tom

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Outrage

Nationally Republicans are now in the outrage business. Outrage over gun laws, outrage over the flag and military uniforms, outrage over prayer, outrage over the IRS trying to enforce the tax code, outrage over the Patriot Act's surveillance provisions, outrage over not doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks, outrage over spending too much, outrage over not protecting our embassies, and not educating our children, outrage over the President's nominees, outrage over not enough leadership in our government agencies, outrage over the size of the deficit, outrage over trying to raise taxes to reduce the deficit, outrage over layoffs caused by Sequestration, outrage over attempts to fund those employee salaries. Outrage everywhere is what's on the menu every day from now on until the elections with the Heritage Foundation lackies and Tea Party Kool-Aid drinkers. They need to stop politicking and do their job or their outrage may end up being over losing it.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Perhaps Republicans are

Perhaps Republicans are finally learning from the Dems. Moreover, the Republicans have a ways to go before they surpass the outrage you constantly post.

By the way, the IRS admitted before congress that it was not just trying to enforce the tax code.

Lastly, politics by definition is politicking.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Until the republicans truly

Until the republicans truly learn that they are not democrats and stop trying to act like democrats to get along, they are doomed. You don't compromise with democrats; you impose your will and defeat them, or you go home.

MARK GRAVE's picture

There is a third option. You

There is a third option. You put them in prison for crimes against the people (i.e. IRS).

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

For Doing their jobs....

Nope..The IRS has every right to investigate "social welfare" (LMAO) groups..

The IRS should be spending their timing investigating tax-exempt churches and religious organizations who act in a political manner...Lets not forget the bigger crime tax evading Tyrannical party that are running political ads, and wanting social welfare status.

Unless you concur with those tax evading liars....

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

What Crimes, the ones you want to make up?

From the guy who notified others...Issa is cherry picking and now the full truth has been inching it way from now the full transcripts are going to be released....

"He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way to showing that the White House was not involved in this," Cummings said on CNN.

Cummings said Sunday that the release of partial transcripts wasn't enough.

"I have asked Chairman Issa to release those transcripts to the public," he told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union." "I want every syllable of those transcripts to be released."

In the process, Cummings sought to debunk Issa's accusation that Washington officials in the Obama administration were deeply involved in the IRS scandal.

The Maryland lawmaker's staff on Sunday released a letter sent to Issa in which Cummings contended that a key supervisor in the IRS' Cincinnati office had suggested the White House had no involvement in the controversial practices. "I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do [with anything] other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development," the letter quoted the supervisor as saying in his committee interview.

"He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way to showing that the White House was not involved in this," Cummings said on CNN.

MARK GRAVE's picture

“I do not believe...” A

“I do not believe...”

A believe is like an opinion and assholes - everyone has one.

Let's see what dirt Issa uncovers.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

revealed that he has nothing.

Jun 2, 2013 – When pressed for actual evidence that Obama is behind the IRS scandal, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) imploded and revealed that he has nothing.

The employee says, ‘I don’t know how to answer that question. I mean, from an agent standpoint, we didn’t do anything wrong. We followed directions based on other people telling us what to do.’ Investigator, ‘And you ultimately followed directions from Washington, is that correct?
The employee, ‘IF direction had come down from Washington, yes.’The investigator, ‘But with respect to the particular scrutiny that was given to tea party applications, those directions emanated from Washington, is that right?’
The employee answers, ‘I believe so.’ It’s totally not definitive.

http://www.politicususa.com/2013/06/02/pressed-evidence-obama-irs-scanda...

GARY SAVARD's picture

It must be nice living in

It must be nice living in fantasyland. Government at ALL levels is out of money. The free rides are about done. OUCH!!

Jim Durfee's picture

Neverland

Never-land for I will never be able to retire because Government will always appropriate (to steal) from some place. Unless they start using sound judgment.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Gary....

that would be true...but...unfortunately they own the printing press!

The only way it will stop, is if "we the people" demand it and turn them out.

Based on some of the comments here, the current administration's seeds of class warfare is alive and well.

Very sad for America.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

You mean class warfare like these 80

Yet recently a group of 80 CEOs went before Congress stating the need to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while lowering tax rates for millionaires, billionaires, and the largest corporations in America.[5] These are some of the same CEOs who head corporations that: Read above
\
Sad day when a worker stands for the rich and blames the administration as class warfare breeders....
Old man you need to get an MRI...

Steve  Dosh's picture

Republicans must part ways with governor

Ed., Weds night
Nice synopsis
" If the state doesn't have a budget in place when the old one expires at the end of this month, the bills don't get paid and the government shuts down. "
No duh . You are lucky it isn't winter and the snow isn't falling all over the public roadways and the bridges aren't collapsing
i hate to say it but politics in Maine is kinda' wishy-washy ( not you guys here in this forum )
In the places we have lived ( Guatemala , Africa and Micronesia , DC , MD, VA -- to name a few ) it's real cut - throat . Just walking out the front door and taking a left or a right means something sometimes to someone
Sometimes it seems like Maine politicians can't decide them selves out of a paper bag , e.g., the whole dangling PNG - LNG question
Why is that even a question ?
How much do you pay these guys and girls ?
Proper governance can't be that much of a mystery
As for the Republicans , they have been two - faced and hypocritical since forever . " I am not a crook ." You know who oversaw the greatest increase in the US Federal Government since FDR , right ? A: Reagan - Bush
Say one thing , do the opposite , governor . Read our lips . Yes ,your Republicans must part ways with your governor , Paul LePage
hth ? /s, Steve :D

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