Two weeks ago, Randy Bumps, the new chairman of the Maine Republican Party wrote a rambling critique about what was wrong with the last ten years of state government. He lamented the increases in the budget, panned Baldacci’s plan for property tax reform, and touted a spending cap that would require a two-thirds majority in the legislature to increase state spending.
Today, Democratic chairman and former speaker Patrick Colwell responded with a much more optimistic view. Here's the good stuff:
The fact is Maine is a great place to live, and many signs point to prosperity in the future. Here are a few economic indicators that won't be in opinion columns authored by Republicans:
Maine's personal income grew 5.4 percent for the first three quarters of last year, out-performing the rest of New England and the nation.
The Maine economy has added 4,700 new jobs through November of last year.
Annual average total wages rose 6.4 percent from 2001 to 2003, far outpacing the 0.8 percent growth in New England and 2.8 percent nationally.
Under the Baldacci administration, state budgets have grown at their slowest rate in over 30 years. Under Baldacci, the average rate of budgetary growth is at 3.5 percent.
Compare this to 5.5 percent under independent Angus King and 5.9 percent under Republican John McKernan.
He goes on to tout the Budget Stabilization Act passed last session and to criticizes the hypocrisy of republicans for pushing to immediately increase education funding to 55% while at the same time lamenting the size of the budget.
Bumps' groundless criticisms ring even hollower today than when he wrote them. On Friday, the special committee on property tax reform voted 11-3 to support Baldacci's plan, showing that it has exactly the kind of bipartisan support that Bumps claims legislation of this kind needs.
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