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Maine House GOP Leader Dillingham: Dems bent on taking everything taxpayers have, spending spree is not over

Maine House GOP Leader Kathleen Dillingham talks about Governor Janet Mills’ budget and Democrat refusal to set priorities at a February press conference.

Following is a weekly Republican Radio Address from House Republican leader Rep. Kathleen Dillingham.

Hello, this is Representative Kathleen Dillingham of Oxford, the Republican Leader of the Maine House.

Since Democrats took complete control of state government, we have unfortunately seen a complete lack of clear priorities resulting in excessive spending. 

That spells disaster down the road and yet again higher taxes on Maine’s working families.

As everyone is well aware, the Mills Administration and Democrats increased the state budget by 11%, spending the majority of all available state monies, including the surplus accumulated under the previous Administration.

To avoid a tax proposal during this past budget cycle, they relied on one-time monies that will not be available going forward to cover the massive expansion of government programs in future years.

After spending nearly every penny available to them, they then proposed borrowing $239 million more to fund items that apparently weren’t priority enough to be included in the $8 billion dollar budget.

Republicans, who hold 38% of the legislative seats, were able to limit that borrowing request to a single $105 million transportation infrastructure bond proposal that voters will consider November 4th.

But the spending spree is far from over.

With their inability to prioritize and say no to their special interest groups, Democrats decided to hold over bills that they could not fund until our next session in January.

In many cases, that meant claiming that there would not be a cost to the taxpayer associated with the policy, or underestimating that cost down the road.

In total, 485 bills from last session have been carried forward to what is supposed to be an “emergency session.”

Legislators then proposed another 400 emergency bills for this next session. 135 of those bills were approved last week to move forward by the Democrat-controlled Legislative Council.  No doubt, more will be approved upon appeal in December.

That means that in the upcoming second session, which is reserved for emergency legislation, we will have over 600 bills to work through.  That is nearly 200 more than in the emergency session of the 128th Legislature and 400 more than in the emergency session of the 127th Legislature.  

Many of these bills will require additional funds from you, the taxpayer on top of our 8 billion dollar budget.

According to the Maine Constitution, emergency bills need to meet a definition of “immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety now.”

It is very clear that my interpretation of emergency session is vastly different from that of the majority party.

This second session workload, with so many bills left undone from the first session, highlights a hallmark of the Democrats complete and utter lack of prioritization. 

Unlike Republican policies, which are designed to help everyone, our colleagues have focused on identity politics and in doing so, they end up making promises to spend more money on their special interest groups than what you can afford to pay. What are a few of these issues the majority wants to create new laws to address now in an emergency session?

– Changing use of Consumer fireworks again

– More Government wage setting

– Yet another healthcare spending advisory group

– A doctor’s note to purchase vaping products

– Allowing consumers to bring personal food containers when purchasing bulk food items

– Another commission on housing, and

– Purchasing electric school buses

When Republicans raise the issue of priorities, debate the necessity of the policy or governments role, or assert that taxpayer resources are already stretched too thin, some members of the Democrat caucus resort to personal attacks against us, often accusing our members of bigotry, sexism and racism.

This is a tactic to distract the people of Maine from the debate we must have about government’s proper place in our society and our lives.

When we indulge ourselves and participate in a tit for tat argument based on emotional appeals, the people of Maine lose.

We should consider the words of President Ford:

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

Given what we have seen so far, the ruling party seems bent on taking everything Maine taxpayers have.

Republicans remain committed to the principle that individuals can better manage their finances than big government and therefore we support policies that allows them to keep more of their own hard-earned money.

Republicans want a more prosperous Maine, where limited resources are targeted to those most in need, not special interests.  Though the odds are stacked against us, we will continue to fight for those principles in the upcoming session when considering the over 600 bills we will face.

This has been Representative Kathleen Dillingham with the Republican Radio Address, thank you for listening.

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