Quote of the day:
"Maine businesses often are described as spouses caught in abusive relationships – they always believe things might get better if they just don’t irritate their oppressors."
Apparently, instead of just trying to increase the number of Republicans the Maine legislature, the right-leaning (but "non-partisan") group will now be seeking out conservative Democrats and running them in primaries against progressive members of their own party.
Payne said the alliance is working with middle-of-the-road Dems to recruit centrist candidates to run against liberals in party primaries in 2010 and 2012. He hopes to create a moderate bloc of a dozen or more legislators capable of shifting the Democratic majority’s left-wing policies toward the middle of the political spectrum.
Payne said many of his GOP allies are shocked by his new approach, feeling he should be devoting his energies to reviving the feeble Republican legislative caucus.
"They’re not happy about it,” he said. “They think the Democrats are gaming us."
He said dealing with the Dems is simply being realistic.
"Maine is a blue state," he said. "We told our friends in the Republican world, ‘This is the only way to get anything done in this economy.’ We say, "Who do you want to deal with, [liberal Speaker of the House] Hannah Pingree or Bill Diamond?’"
The legislation hasn't been submitted in Congress yet, but the fight over the Employee Free Choice Act in Maine is ramping up quickly.
Yesterday, Congressman Mike Michaud, labor leaders and top Democrats in the legislature gathered at the Capitol to highlight a new study from the Center for American Progress that predicts a 5% increase in union membership would lead to an infusion of $77 million into Maine's economy.
WLBZ has footage from that event as well as a press conference held by Maine business lobby leaders the day before:
Passage of this legislation will likely require the votes of at least one of a small group of moderate Republican senators, which includes Maine's Snowe and Collins. After a barrage of anti-union ads during the last elections, both senators have voiced their opposition to the EFCA, but groups both for and against the bill obviously think there's a chance one of them will change their mind or could be convinced to vote for an amended version.
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.