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Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 03/27/13

Misplaced Priorities, Lack of Dem Solutions Mark First Half of Legislative Session

Political pettiness, government overreach rule while Democrats still won't be upfront with their plan for the budget

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leadership today expressed disappointment that the legislature under Democratic leadership is focusing on the small stuff—bills that take political jabs and micromanage Mainers' lives—instead of tackling the big issues facing Maine.

Since the beginning of the session, the biggest Democratic initiatives are as follows:

Making sure their political appointees get pay raises

Taking a handful of funding away from charter schools just to prove a point

Opening bars at 6am instead of 9am

Hiking registration fees on cars

Hiking tolls on Mainers

Selling the Blaine House

Going after LePage's pension

Making sure teenagers can't go tanning

"Political vindictiveness and big-government intrusion into our lives is not a recipe for success for Maine," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "We need to start tackling the big problems facing our state. Republicans are focused on jobs and economic growth, not a laundry list of pet issues from the hardcore liberal faction of the Maine political establishment."

The two biggest pieces of legislation before the House and Senate right now include hospital repayment and the budget.

Republicans recently waged a public relations campaign to convince Mainers that they had the right plan for the state's liquor business—to pay off our almost $500 million in outstanding hospital bills instead of using the money to fuel more government growth while ignoring our debts. Finally, Democrats came around and agreed with Republicans that Maine's hospitals must be paid and the private sector could use a boost.

The other major issue is the biennial budget. The Governor presented a budget plan that cuts government spending instead of increasing taxes. Democrats have so far offered nothing but complaints for months. They have attacked cuts to state aid to localities without offering any formal proposal to balance the budget using other means.

We have, however, caught glimpses of what the Democrats have in mind, and it's no wonder they're being so shy.

On Monday night in Brewer, Sen. Emily Cain (D-Penobscot) of the Appropriations Committee offered four possible solutions: increasing the sales tax, increasing the meals and lodging taxes, repealing tax cuts passed in the 125th Legislature, and making sure "the wealthy pay fair share." One thing these four solutions have in common: they're all tax increases. Members of Democratic leadership have similarly hinted at increasing taxes.

"It's time for Democratic leadership to be upfront with Maine people," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette. "One of the reasons they've been avoiding the big issues all session is that they know Mainers won't like their solutions. We've tried tax increases for decades and it's time state government goes on a diet so that Maine families can catch a break from taxes."

"The Governor's budget is out there for all to see, and we're listening to what the public has to say about it," added Fredette. "But we can't have a true public debate until the Democrats come clean with their alternative to revenue sharing cuts. I'm calling on Democratic appropriators and Democratic leadership to offer a blueprint for balancing Maine's budget. No excuses, just solutions."

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Contact:
David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793