February 4, 2014

Yesterday, Democrats on the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations Committee told their Republican colleagues that voting on a fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation would occur today. Then, they secretly met again and rammed through the fiscally reckless plan without any Republican presence.

Emily Cain, the likely Democratic nominee for Congress in the 2nd district, is a Democratic Member of the Appropriations Committee.

By holding a secret vote without including the other party, Emily Cain and her career political buddies sought to invalidate the votes of Maine people who chose Republicans to serve as their Representatives and Senators on the powerful Appropriations Committee. That Washington-style political stunt is an affront to democracy and decency.

Let me make this abundantly clear: I oppose any increase in property taxes. I believe Maine families pay too much in federal, state, and local taxes. The spendthrift and debt-laden federal government, fiscally unsustainable Maine state government, and other government bodies need to look for ways to provide vital public services within their financial means. I look forward to being a strong voice for fiscal discipline and common sense while representing Maine in Congress.

Instead of controlling spending, raiding the State’s already depleted rainy day fund to balance the current budget is an unhealthy long-term recipe for continued financial instability. As State Treasurer, one of my primary responsibilities was to protect Maine’s credit rating. For years, including 2013, the credit rating agencies have warned that our state government needs to rebuild our “savings account” as a critically important cushion against economic downturns. Year-after-year, the rating agencies reminded Augusta that our Budget Stabilization Fund had been drained from roughly $120 million to zero during the Baldacci Administration.

My 35 years in the private sector included being a partner in an investment management firm that safely and productively handled the retirement savings for tens of thousands of American workers such as those for two of Maine’s largest employers at the time, Bath Iron Works and International Paper. I understand how the national credit rating agencies negatively view those companies and governments who fail to hold adequate financial reserves to protect against future economic uncertainties.

By using a partisan, political maneuver to raid the taxpayers’ rainy day fund, Emily Cain and her strong-arm associates have placed the people of Maine and their state government at risk. If Maine’s credit rating were to be downgraded, already struggling taxpayers would likely face additional interest costs when state government needs to borrow money to maintain our roads, bridges, and ports.