Maine's Governor Spends Too Much Time ith NRA, Shoots Messenger

When his term is up in 2018 Maine Governor Paul LePage is moving from the Blaine House mansion in Augusta to a posh neighborhood in Boothbay Harbor, so who's he calling a "southern Maine elitist?" This is the guy who's dying to eliminate the "death tax" so 60 of his high falutin' friends can avoid paying taxes on estates exceeding $5.5 million?

Hopefully you caught Governor LePage's column last week wherein he attacks me and my "rich southern Maine cronies" for ruining Maine's economy with our "rigid socialist ideology." If not, grab a dictionary and read how this welfare activist castigated Lepage to assuage liberal guilt while driving a limo.

By "socialist ideology," is the governor referring to the Democrats ideas about tax reform? Because I seem to recall that "liberals" in the Maine legislature passed a major tax reform bill in 2010 that lowered the income tax rates by raising some sales taxes and eliminating exemptions -- a 'crazy' law that was repealed by Republicans the next year when the governor rode in on his white horse to save us from ourselves.

Yup, Paul LePage came to town with a big bold idea of his own to jump start and stabilize Maine's economy. "Folks, we've got to reform the tax code by lowering the income tax rate, raising the sales tax and eliminating exemptions," he said in so many words.

Huh. Nothing liberal about that idea. No siree. As long as it's spit out of the mouth of a Republican a good idea magically becomes "conservative."

Too bad the businessman-not-a-politician couldn't close the deal. He was probably too busy with other important decisions like whether his next job should be at the White House or in the US Senate.

LePage failed to sell his pre-owned tax reform bill so instead he's now peddling snake oil that purports to eliminate income taxes altogether: Side effects include cutting a $1.5 billion hole in the state budget and an increase to property taxes. It's no surprise Maine people all over the map aren't buying this ridiculously dangerous concoction because contrary to what he says it's not geography that divides people. It's common sense.

Who does the governor think actually pays the income taxes he so wants to cut, anyway? Surely as the "CEO" of Maine's economy he realizes that more than half of the state's economic output comes from Cumberland, York and Sagadahoc counties -- all in the southern portion of the Pine Tree State. The so-called "elitists" there -- the people who pay the income taxes LePage wants to eliminate -- don't oppose the governor's tax plan because of their longitude and latitude coordinates or because they don't want a tax break. They oppose the elimination of the income tax because it's a really dumb idea. You simply can't cut state funding in half and govern responsibly.

People up and down the state aren't buying what Maine's governor is selling, and no wonder?

Open-pit mines, anyone? Look what they did for Colorado and British Columbia. LePage accuses the southern Maine liberal brethren of denying good jobs to their bros up north, but Senators from Washington, Penobscot and Piscatiquis counties as well as Representatives in the House -- including Aroostook County -- opposed the open-pit mining bill LePage pushed. The last thing Maine needs is another unfunded environmental liability that lines the pockets of an out-of-state corporation. We are picking up the tab for the Dolby Landfill and the biomass plants, but thanks anyway.

The column that Governor LePage reacted to made the simple irrefutable point that Maine's economy is failing according to the Measures of Growth Report, but rather than address the very serious statistics in the report about our negative economic growth and increasing childhood poverty, the Governor shot the messenger. Is this his example of the "rugged individualism" his administration is attempting to revive? Looks more like a cheap suit than a L.L. Bean flannel.

Governor LePage had a shot at taking personal responsibility for Maine's poor report card but instead he shot the messenger. That's what happens when you spend too much time with the NRA. Guns, local control and special interests are three things Governor LePage rants about, so how exactly do all the NRA-sponsored bills help the good people up north feed their families? And what was it about the Town of Cape Elizabeth's local ordinance on the licensure of a shooting range that Big State Government needed to fix?

He can talk about "special interests" until he is red in the face but let's face it - under the LePage administration there have been more NRA-sponsored bills passed than ever before. Poor people everywhere must be thrilled they can openly carry guns while they look for better work.

What experience and empirical data show is that it's not so much political parties or geography that divides people, it's education. According to the Pew Research Center, "highly educated adults - particularly those who have attended graduate school - are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades."

"Liberalism" is not what ails the State of Maine. It's something else.