Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Monday, May 09, 2005

Calling out the GOP

Jim Brunelle today suggests that Republicans put up or shut up.
Sometime this week, we should learn whether legislative Republicans really do have a better way of assembling a state budget.

Or, are they simply content to sit on the sidelines, complain about the impotence of their minority status and take potshots at the budget document already pushed through by majority Democrats?

Republicans probably won't submit a specific plan, and this article in the PPH explains why.
For many Republicans, the debate over Baldacci's borrowing package - approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in late March - has become a golden political opportunity to tarnish Baldacci's name and galvanize supporters heading into the 2006 governor's race.

Visit the new Maine Politics.


When will the Democrats come up with a plan to fix Social Security? 

Posted by George

5/09/2005 07:19:00 PM


Perhaps when it needs fixing? 

Posted by Brandon

5/09/2005 08:08:00 PM


That's the Democrat way! Just ignore the impending crisis. That's what Clinton did with terrorism. 

Posted by George

5/09/2005 08:43:00 PM


Yes, because clearly cutting the benefits of Americans that need and depend on them at a higher scale than those who don't is the way to fix the solvency problem. Give the middle class the shaft while bending over backward for the wealthiest Americans: That's the Republican way! 

Posted by Brandon

5/10/2005 12:07:00 AM


Oh George, it always comes back to Clinton, doesn't it.

The Democrats have offered to sit down with the GOP and work out a way to IMPROVE Social Security if the "private accounts" option is removed from the table. The President and his leadership in Congress won't go along with that.

However, this original editorial was about the Maine GOP and their non-plan for the state budget. Let's not forget that there's no answer from them yet. 

Posted by Maura

5/10/2005 10:30:00 AM


Did I hear someone mention the poor...or was it the wailing from the clients of the mental health programs being closed around Maine because of Baldacci's cutbacks in funding?

The Dem plan for the state budget is a de facto endorsement of organized gambling, i.e. MEGABUCKS and then borrowing against future receipts. The victims are the poor who make up the bulk of the gamblers and the tax paying suckers who not only must repay the loan, but over $40 m. in interest----hmmm, wonder which Dem. bankers are getting this windfall?

This is a policy borne in welfare politics where the name of the poor is involved to benefit the DEM's protected unions who will get nearly all of the loan.

No wonder the Dem's don't have a plan to replenish the social security fund---they've been raiding it for decades for their pet projects!

Bush's latest version of revising social security with both optional private accounts and indexed progressive assessments has wonder the admiration of many liberal columnists. I think he's finally got a winning combination! 

Posted by House

5/10/2005 01:33:00 PM


The Democrats will come up with a plan to "save" Social Security some time when we need to, oh say, in the next 30 years. What we need now is a budget and a decent bond rating here in Maine, and the Republicans want to stomp around and point fingers. 

Posted by leolabeth

5/10/2005 02:58:00 PM


Maura: The Republicans have offered to sit down and work out a better budget with the Democrats. But the Democrats have refused. Back in March, they even offered to pass a three-month budget so the Democrats would still be able to avoid a shutdown by passing a amjority budget. Despite the Republicans willingness to give up an leverage that they might have, the Democrats insisted on passin their unbalanced budget. What the Democrats want now is a list of unpopular cuts that they can use against Republicans in the next election. You do not compromise on a budget by both sides both putting forward a complete plan. 

Posted by George

5/10/2005 04:17:00 PM


And what the Republicans want now is to hide that list of unpopular cuts so it will be easier to force them on Maine if their referendum passes. 

Posted by Al

5/10/2005 04:55:00 PM


The Democrats passed the budget and now have to live with it. Starting to have second thoughts, are we? 

Posted by Bob

5/10/2005 09:24:00 PM


Why not? The Democrats thought its was fine to hide a $450 million bond instead of sending it out to the voters as called for in the Constitution. The Republicans offered an amendment in March to have the bond voted on in June but the Dems rejected it. If the bond is the best solution, why not send it out to the voters? A voter approved bond would cost less in interest. Why are the Dems afraid of the voters? 

Posted by George

5/10/2005 09:40:00 PM


Dems afraid of the voters? The Republicans are the ones that refuse to offer a plan because they know the voters would find deep cuts in health care and education to be unpalatable.

If you were really worried about the bond interest, having a veto referendum would be the last thing you'd want to do. The uncertainty over the budget could lower the state's bond rating and cost us more. 

Posted by Al

5/10/2005 10:30:00 PM


Now you are being silly. If the signatures are obtained, the bonds can't be issued until the public vote so there will be no bonds to pay higher interest on due to uncertainty.

When Arnold took over in California, he decided he needed to borrow money to balance the budget. He took the bond package to the voters, explained why it was needed, and it was approved. Why not do the same here if the bond is really needed? 

Posted by George

5/10/2005 11:06:00 PM


These aren't the only bonds we have, George, and they won't be the last. Of course a downgrade would affect the State's finances.

Revenue bonds in Maine don't require voter approval, so the onus is on Republicans to explain why they should be put to a referendum.

If they were serious about this, instead of simply playing politics, the first thing they would do to achieve that is submit an alternative plan.

They have 2 days and 17 hours left to do that.

Posted by Al

5/10/2005 11:31:00 PM


Can you show me in the Constitution where a distinction is made for revenue bonds? But even if that is true, why not issue voter approved bonds which would cost less in interest?

Maine has never issued bonds to balance the budget like is being done this year. We are heading down the path to fiscal ruin like New York City did in the 1970's. The Democrats don't want to take their plan to the voters because they know what the reaction of the voters would be.


Posted by George

5/10/2005 11:43:00 PM


It is another weasel trick to call these bonds, "REVENUE" bonds. Revenue bonds use the 'revenue' from the facility built to pay them off. The Maine Turnpike Authority pioneered in them, using toll revenues. Ditto for housing which uses mortgage revenues.

The $450 million is operational money, and secured by gambling income.  

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