Republican lawmakers say they've achieved a lot of the things Maine voters sent them to Augusta to do.
At a state house press conference Tuesday, GOP leaders tried to counter the negative spin they say is being put on their accomplishments by Democrats as both parties fight for control of the Maine House and Senate.
Republican leaders unveiled a new brochure they've published titled "Promises Made Promises Kept". In it, they applaud their efforts to reduce taxes, reform the state's welfare system, and make health insurance more affordable to Mainers, among other things. "The bottom line to us is that for many years, when we sought the opportunity to govern, we made promises as to what we'd do if given that opportunity. This is an example of the promises being kept," Hampden Republican Andre Cushing said.
Among those who spoke at Tuesday's press event, House Speaker Robert Nutting and Senate President Kevin Raye. "Certainly we have not fixed all of Maine's problems. We know people are still hurting. We know the economy is still poor," Nutting said. "The only way state government can affect job creation in the short term, immediately, is to hire state employees. I don't think people want to do that. What we've done instead is put together this package of reforms that will allow Maine entrepreneurs to build their businesses without high taxes. Without onerous regulations. And for the foreseeable future not just the next 12 months."
Portland Democrat Justin Alfond fired back saying Republicans are only telling half of the story. "This is political theatre 30 days before the election," Alfond said. "We all know that Republicans run the state of Maine. They are running from their record. They are running from their policies and only telling half the story to Mainers, and that's what they've been doing the entire campaign."
When asked to elaborate on the half of the story he thought Republicans were withholding, Alfond had this to say. "The other half? Let's look at insurance. Insurance rates on small business has gone up 90%. 90% of small businesses in the state of Maine have seen health care increases. If you're a rural or older Mainer, you're seeing increases by 40-60%.
Alfond also attacked the Republican tax cuts which he said benefit only the wealthy. "There was a large tax increase, but who benefited? Wealthy people. Wealthy people like me. I don't need $2800. Middle class Mainers are going to get 100 bucks. $100. That might help them, but it's not going to help them when their property taxes that are also going up," Alfond said.
Republican leaders say the report was paid for with private funds and will be passed out to trade associations and Maine businesses.
A copy is also available at:
State GOP Leaders to Give Their Version of the Republican-Controlled Legislature Accomplishments