It’s that season of the year again!
These days, it seems the season comes earlier and earlier.
No, I am not talking about the gorgeous fall weather, but that time of year when special interest groups begin to bombard us all with ads, phone calls, and mailers telling you how great or awful your local elected official was this past year.
Hello, I’m Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow from Senate District 13 in Lincoln County.
Many of these messages are so outrageous they would actually be funny if they were not so dishonest and designed to shape public policy by misleading people.
Occasionally, I have seen ads accusing Republicans of not supporting low income workers because they did not support a government-imposed minimum wage increase. What these ads do not tell you is that from 2013 through 2015, Maine led the nation in the growth of wages for our workers without government meddling in private sector earnings.
A prosperous economy and sound fiscal management will do that.
As soon as the minimum wage referendum was added to the ballot in 2016, Maine’s ranking among states for wage growth fell from first in the nation to 40th. It has not recovered since and Maine workers are making less today than they would have had the pre-referendum trend continued.
Just this week one group sent out a mailer claiming that, because some legislators voted against a bill about job interviews, certain state senators do not support a reduction in childhood poverty. Talk about a stretch in logic!
According to the Maine Children’s Alliance, however, since the election of Republican majorities in 2010, there has been a “steep decline” in child poverty in our state with 15,000 fewer Maine children living in poverty today.
And then there are those who grade elected officials for a vote that has not even happened yet.
In a recent scorecard, The Maine People’s Alliance gave me a 0% because, among other votes, they claim I voted against—which I did not—a bill to roll back Maine’s estate tax.
This is even more intriguing since there has been no vote in the House or the Senate to enact this bill, which was carried over until next session. I am not sure how I could have voted not to pass a bill that has not had a final vote yet.
What the Maine People’s Alliance has apparently missed is that revenue to state government from the Estate Tax so far this fiscal year is nearly 700% higher than this time last year and those revenues are the only thing keeping the state budget from being financially in the red.
Meddling with a tax structure that has brought state government seven straight years of surpluses totaling nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars is, like the minimum wage law, more likely to accomplish the opposite of what is intended.
Over the past eight years, responsible fiscal management of state finances has brought Maine a long period of record prosperity.
Based on the principal that a rising tide lifts all boats, this prosperity has led to a “steep decline” in child poverty, record low unemployment, more jobs at higher wages (including for women), and many more benefits to all Maine people.
This prosperity has done far more than any single vote on a bill whose meaning can be twisted into anything a political group can imagine.
The best way for you, the voter, to be accurately informed is to contact your local elected official directly and ask them what they believe and how they voted on issues that are important to you.
Again, I am Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow from Senate District 13 in Lincoln County.
Get outside and enjoy this beautiful Maine fall season.