Senator Peter Bowman emails over a letter-to-the-editor he's submitted to the Weekly Sentinel in response to the AMF ad.
For the record, I am completely supportive of freedom of the press including advertizing! That said, I personally abhor attack ads, especially those paid for by lobbies that have their own interests at heart and not ours!
I want to advise your readers that the real nature of the very personal, inflammatory ad that appeared in last week’s Sentinel was just that: an attack ad, part of an effort largely paid for by the beverage industry lobbies (including some out-of-staters) to discredit those who voted for adding about a nickel-a-bottle cost to the consumption of discretionary beverages so that about 18,000 working Maine people would not lose health care insurance coverage. Also, not mentioned in the ad were the facts that in the last Legislature I sponsored a bill to reduce the size of state government and, in a separate bill, voted for reducing Maine’s personal income tax rate structure. These are much more important components of the very real tax/spending issues facing Maine today.
Contrary to what you may have read or heard, the issue had two full public hearings and was fully discussed by the Legislature’s Taxation Committee in the 123rd Legislature. The Legislature turned to non-health-enhancing funding sources (e.g., beer, wine, soda) unanimously endorsed by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Dirigo Health (remember, Anheuser Busch and Coke don’t want you to think of their products as potential health issues!). After thoughtful consideration, I reluctantly voted for the bill that included the beverage tax because I believed it to be a more transparent funding mechanism for Dirigo Health than the previous highly controversial “Savings Offset Payment” process (which estimated the savings in overall health care costs due to covering the previously uninsured).
Finally, when you consume that beverage that costs an extra nickel, I ask you to think of it as helping a needy child to be treated for asthma, or a woman to have a mammogram, or a man to have a prostate cancer PSA blood test. The picture looks quite different when viewed from that perspective!
Mike - You raised an important point that the new taxes supported by Bowman and others were a tax shift - a trade for lowering the personal income tax. I forgot the context of that vote.
The attached ad will run in the Sentinel instead of the one I furnished. We're trying to be fair and accurate. What is clear to me is that the new taxes would raise more revenue than would be realized in income tax reductions - a net gain for spenders in the Legislature. It also would have established entire new categories of tax that as one-offs could be raised in future years because the businesses impacted by those taxes would never have the political clout to defeat such efforts. Just take a look at the beverage industry which has clout but was ambushed late at night and singled out. Thanks for the perspective.
As PolitickerME reports, the Alliance for Maine's Future's Maine Prosperity PAC has spent $8,000 as an independent expenditure attacking Senator Peter Bowman in Senate District 1. AMF Director Tony Payne sends along an ad which will be running this week in the Weekly Sentinel as a part of that expenditure. Click the image to enlarge.
The ad attempts to tie Bowman to a long list of tax hikes based on his votes for LD 1925, a bill that would have lowered income taxes by broadening the sales tax, and LD 2247, the bill that imposed a beverage tax to replace the insurance savings offset payments funding the Dirigo Health program. LD 2247 is the subject of the Question 1 referendum campaign.
In addition to the $363 spent on this ad, the PAC has spent over $7,500 on an anti-Bowman mail campaign.
Bowman is locked in a close race with former senator Mary Andrews. This expenditure should trigger more public funding for his campaign under the Maine Clean Elections Act.
There's a new post up at DownEast.com continuing my look at interesting senate races.
District one could be the closest race in Maine, with two strong candidates with very different priorities and legislative histories contesting the seat.
Third party spending in the area has already begun, with the conservative interest group Alliance for Maine's Future announcing today that they've bought print advertising attacking Bowman and three other local Democrats for supporting the beverage tax.