Little more than a full week from the hour when Democrats and Republicans came together in Augusta to pass a relief package in response to the Worldwide pandemic that has so far taken more than twenty thousand lives, Maine’s legislative Democrats have already resorted to a cheap partisan attempt to curry favor with small businesses in Maine.
Following a year and a half of attacks on Maine’s small business owners and workers through legislation that made their efforts to succeed far more difficult, Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Sara Gideon have engaged only their Democratic colleagues in a letter to Maine’s Congressional delegation, half of which are not Democrats.
Dated the day after Congress came to an agreement on the stimulus package, the letter asks that Maine’s two U.S. Senators and two U.S. Congress members “do everything in your power to help vital Maine small businesses remain viable” during the current COVID-19 crisis.
This is clearly a foolish attempt to paint Democrats as more sympathetic to Maine’s small businesses in the face of their volumes of recent legislative actions to the contrary.
Republicans in the legislature were never consulted before this letter was sent, nor were they asked to sign on. Since there is no record in history of a Congress changing its mind the day after reaching a major agreement because they received a letter from a handful of partisan legislators, this can only have been done as a foolish attempt to seem more sympathetic to Maine voters.
By our calendar, the new era of bipartisanship in Augusta, where all of us rally together in the fight against an unprecedented enemy, lasted less than seven full days.
Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow: “If the goal of Democrats was truly to effect the voting behavior of our delegation in Washington, clearly a letter from members of both parties would have carried far more weight. Instead, they have already reverted to their old partisan ways while we are all still in the midst of one of the greatest crises that Maine and the World has ever faced.”
Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake: “In my years in Augusta, I have seen some pretty despicable partisan tricks. But to curry cheap political favor in the midst of a crisis that has cost the lives of tens of thousands of people worldwide, especially by pretending to support the very same small businesses they have relentlessly overtaxed and over-regulated—this requires a remarkable lack of basic human decency.”
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A small sample of recent Democrat-supported, anti-small business measures
- A 60% hike in the minimum wage in just three years, leaving Maine’s wage $4.75 higher than neighboring New Hampshire and the national wage.
- More restrictive workers compensation rules.
- Forcing certain Maine business to maintain a workforce that includes a base of apprentices equal to 25% of their workforce.
- Increasing small business costs by requiring additional paid leave for all employees, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary and even per diem.
- Numerous proposals to increase fees, costs, and taxes. Including increases to the gas tax, propane, even heating oil.