As a Democrat, I have been pleased to learn details of the budget-cutting proposals offered by Gov. John Baldacci. Maine needs to make a statement about taxes.

No one likes the shared sacrifice those cuts will require, but few doubt their necessity.

Baldacci’s forward-thinking resolve has made me bullish about the prospects for eventually growing the economy. I have also been optimistic, both for my party, which is too often viewed as anti-business, and more importantly for the future of the state.

I am pleased that Baldacci has been proving my pre-election assessment wrong. I thought he was a Kremlin-style bureaucrat with the flare of Walter Mondale. While he will never possess a warm personality, he is proving to be tough when it comes to upholding his pledge to address Maine’s crippling tax burden.

Convinced that Baldacci would never get tough on taxes and make a pro-growth statement through cuts, I voted for Green Party candidate Pat LaMarche. Republican Peter Mills was my first choice. Unfortunately, Republicans nominated right-wing social extremist and George Bush-clone Chandler Woodcock, eliminating the possibility of obtaining broad Democratic support.

I have been dismayed to learn that Maine’s Democratic Legislature is predictably resisting Baldacci’s plan, calling instead for slight tax increases.

Not a single cent in new taxes is justifiable, and I admit to feeling a sense of anger and disappointment with Democrats in the Maine Legislature.

Democrats must recognize that sometimes the best choices are painful ones.

Mark Tardif, Waterville

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