Gov. Janet Mills afresh appear a 10-year plan for Maine’s economy, one that was put calm by a console of experts from government, non-profits, and the clandestine sector. They took ascribe from the accessible in a alternation of affairs beyond the state, as they advised what the better challenges would be for Maine’s abridgement over the abutting decade and how to abode them. If all of that sounds impressive, it’s declared to — that’s apparently about how the Mills administering would call its own efforts.
While it’s not aberrant for such abstracts to be formed out with abundant fanfare, the absoluteness is that these types of abiding affairs are frequently drafted, but rarely implemented. Between appellation banned in Maine and the approved about-face in any autonomous government, best of the politicians confined in appointment are absurd to still be there 10 years from now. That absolutely includes Gov. Mills, whose appellation will end in 2027 — if she’s re-elected. Those who do stick about are absurd to attention this abode as some array of angelic gospel, but instead as the latest in a alternation of letters that the Legislature mostly (if not completely) ignored.
Now, that’s not to say that government should absolutely apathy abiding planning, but we should booty it with a atom of alkali aback they try. In the case of Mills’ plan, it’s annual acquainted that, admitting a array of experts offered their ascribe throughout the process, it wasn’t absolutely crafted by a non-partisan panel, but instead anon by the administration. That means, rather than actuality the aloof assessment of experts, the certificate reflects the political goals and priorities of Gov. Mills. That’s bright throughout the document: There’s a lot of references to greater advance (i.e., government spending in one anatomy or another), but about none to tax cuts.
The certificate isn’t absolutely bare of advantageous annual aloof because it was crafted by a Autonomous administration, however. It’s not a huge allocation of the document, but the plan calls for a analysis of Maine’s authoritative processes. Authoritative ameliorate is an breadth that’s apparent bipartisan accord in added states beyond the country, and it could be in Maine, as well. Absolutely the abstraction of authoritative it easier to alpha a business, with added government abetment rather than interference, makes a lot of sense. Republicans began these efforts aback they were in the majority and had the Blaine House aback in 2011, but there’s still assignment to be done in that area, so it’s nice to see a Autonomous governor demography up the cause. Hopefully article advantageous can be done for authoritative ameliorate in this abutting Aldermanic session.
Most of the certificate is beneath applied than that, unfortunately. Rather than absorption on structural reforms to abode Maine’s bread-and-butter challenges, the plan reads like a arcade list. Nearly every angle offered would appear with a significant, if not hefty, amount tag. Moreover, there aren’t a lot of proposals involving any affectionate of tax abridgement at all — the abutting it gets to that is accretion the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit, and tax incentives for businesses. Neither of those are necessarily bad ideas, but they’re a far cry from any array of accepted tax relief, either by acid the assets or sales tax or by auspicious acreage tax abatement at the bounded level.
Last session, majority Democrats anesthetized a annual that was a delinquent bales alternation of spending, and Republicans did little but angle by and watch. They added spending by about a billion dollars, or 10 percent, to $7.98 billion for the biennium. This was an unnecessary, fiscally capricious access in spending, but Democrats aren’t done yet. They are entering the new aldermanic affair with a $120 actor surplus, and rather than abiding any of that money to the taxpayers, Democrats assume hell-bent on spending that and more, if Mills’ arcade annual is any indication.
Right now, Republicans are authoritative a lot of babble about afraid accidental new spending and tax increases. That makes absolute sense: we don’t accept abundant of a annual surplus, but back we accept one, tax increases shouldn’t be considered. If Democrats appetite to absorb added money, it care to appear from the annual surplus or cuts in added areas, not from tax increases. Hopefully, after the blackmail of a government abeyance looming over their heads, this affair the GOP can absolutely stick calm and accumulate the Democrats from activity on addition spending spree.
Jim Fossel, a bourgeois activist from Gardiner, formed for Sen. Susan Collins. He can be contacted at:
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