I haven't posted much in the last couple weeks. The great thing about being back in Maine is that I can participate in politics here instead of just writing about them, and that's what I've been doing. Last week I was at the statehouse with a group pushing for passage of both Part 3 of the Democratic budget (eliminating borrowing by upping the cigarette tax) and LD 1595, the comprehensive tax reform proposal which, in broad strokes, would lower property and income taxes by closing loopholes in the state sales tax. The budget passed but the tax reform bill was sent back to committee.
I enjoyed talking to all the legislators, and Sen. Snowe Mello may or may not have asked me out on a date, but one of the high points of the day was definitely meeting Daily Show star Representative Brian Duprey of Hampden (who Al Diamon describes as "the least effective member of the least competent Legislature in recent history").
The photo above shows a couple of Duprey's constituents from Hampden lobbying him. He first tried to tell us that cigarette prices are currently much lower in Canada (something my Canadian friends who pay $10 a pack would be surprised to hear) and then insisted he had to get to the chamber to hear some important debate on the issue. 5 minutes later we found him eating cheese-its in a stairwell. He quickly stashed the crackers in a pocket when I asked to take his picture. And yes, that is a Republican elephant tie he's wearing.
Baldacci signed the budget provision into law yesterday and the tax reform package will be back on the agenda in a few weeks when the legislature reconvenes. Be sure to watch the MCLF Blog for updates on the bill.
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