Maine on Tax Cuts: “YES WE CAN!”

Post by Libby Lucia

Over the next week, legislative leaders on Beacon Hill will be putting the finishing touches on the state budget.  The clock is ticking to finalize the negotiations and send it to the Governor for his review and signature before the start of the next fiscal year that begins on July 1st.

As these negotiations continue, the one thing we know for sure is that the final budget will not contain any tax relief for businesses and taxpayers since none of the budget versions filed by the Governor, House or Senate included tax cuts.  Bay State leaders want us to believe that tax cuts are not possible given that the state is dealing with a $2 billion structural gap in the budget.  A gap that they claim is due to the loss of Federal stimulus funds.  Never mind that they had four years and more than $7 billion in Federal and state rainy day money to plan for this day instead of pushing the problem off year after year.

I for one get very irritated when I hear the people in charge of spending our money say that they have cut spending to the bare bones.  It is true that programs have seen some across the board cuts (higher education, local aid, senior prescription advantage to name a few) but there has been no thought behind these cuts.

Instead of changing the way the programs are administered to create savings, across the board cuts have become the norm and they have been particularly slow to address meaningful reforms.  For example, the state recently announced a new approach to fund homelessness programs as the number of families living in motels across the state hit a record high of more than 1,500 this past month.

This is great news but what in God’s name took so long?  This has been a problem for four years costing you and me more than $50 million to house families in motels.  There has been no sense of urgency to make changes to this program and many more as they spend our money… READ THE REST of Libby’s inaugural post at CriticalMASS

About CriticalDan

  • While looking at Maine, keep an ear to the ground for the internecine war that is approaching a boil over point in Connecticut.

    Edith Prague is one — if not the most — liberal and pro-labor Democrats in Connecticut’s General Assembly and here were here comments today regarding how the state employee union votes are going (Gov. Malloy’s deal requires 14 of 15 unions approve it…right now it stands a 6 yes, 1 no, and one of the unions whose leadership hasn’t finished desperately stuffing ballot boxes yet is considered to have the rank and file least likely to approve it):

    Sen. Edith Prague, a Columbia Democrat, said she cannot understand the voting trend.

    “It’s a nightmare. It is a nightmare to think these folks don’t understand that there are dire consequences of them not accepting the SEBAC agreement,” Prague said. “It is a good agreement. They are lucky to have these benefits. Nobody in their right mind, under these circumstances, would turn down that agreement. It’s just got to be that they are believing this horrible, horrible information that is being put out there on their health plan. They think they are going to be put into the HUSKY plan? Give me a break. They are getting misinformation. They just don’t understand what is real and what is garbage.”

    She added, “I can’t explain it. It is a disaster. Don’t they realize it is a disaster to vote this agreement down. They could be part of the layoffs. Don’t they know that? That’s a real possibility that they could be voting to lay themselves off. … I actually called Sal Luciano and said, Can I do something? He said, Edith, I’ve tried everything.”

    “If they don’t care about their fellow employees, they better start caring about themselves. If they think that, they are stupid. … I can’t imagine them being so stupid.”

    Concerning the purported role of the Yankee Institute in spreading disinformation to tank the deal, Prague said, “I wouldn’t be surprised. As a matter of fact, I think they want Malloy to fail. … They’re a mighty force. They get their message out there. I heard Jim Vicevich, who I never listen to, and he was blasting the deal. Those state employees ought to listen to their union leaders like Sal Luciano. … I’m hoping there’s some way that SEBAC can make an adjustment and ask for a re-vote of those units that voted it down. I don’t know if that’s possible.”

    Regarding Malloy, Prague said, “The guy is giving state employees the biggest deal they could ever have. … This governor is not joking. Consequently, there are thousands of people who could lose their jobs. I don’t think bumping rights should enter this picture at all. I don’t know where you can find 7,000 state employees to lay off. If they vote this down, they’re putting themselves in jeopardy.”

    “Social workers. I can’t figure it out – unless they’re believing the propaganda that’s out there,” said Prague, a former social worker who holds a master’s degree in the field. “I think they’re out of their minds, and if I had the chance, I would tell him. … I don’t know why these people are voting down this agreement. The private sector folks would die for this kind of package. They don’t have good retirement benefits. They don’t have the kind of healthcare, for minimum cost, that state employees have.”

    Prague, who never saw the rejection coming, says the people who vote against the agreement should be the ones who are laid off.

    Call me silly, but when there was already distrust from the rank and file over what they perceive as their leadership’s desperate brown nosing to Malloy after having gotten the Governor’s Mansion in Democratic hands for the first time in over two decades…

    Having one of the senior Senators known for being pro-labor call them stupid, selfish, and crazy…while also wishing to have do-over votes and seek vengeance on those who voted no…is probably not going to play well to the audience.