I have been publishing this blog since about 2007 , During this time , it has remained an off-the grid blog in Maine politics and elsewhere with exceptions going for the forums As Maine Goes and The Maine Citizen. I have never seen this blog included on any on-line listings of Maine political blogs, although I have written to various places that post Maine political blogs, including The Maine Heritage Foundation, The Other Side of Town, and Maine Politcs, Pine Tree Watch Dog, as well as other national investigative reporting organizations. For the most part my correspondence goes unanswered.
Recently, I received the following message from the Maine Conservative Patriots (Facebook):
Howdy, I want to thank you for your past contributions to The Maine Conservative Patriots, you are a very deep thinker... and the most of the time, way over my head and I feel over the heads of many others on my site. I think I want to simplify the information and posts, keeping them short and to the point so that I and others can benefit quickly and act on the info in a timely manner. Again Thank you for your contributions in the past but now I will hope for some new contributors that are not such deep thinkers. sincerely ~ The Maine Conservative PatriotsThere after I was blocked from access to The Maine Conservative Patriots
I am told that The Maine Conservative Patriots is Gordon Colby's group administered by Maynard Stanley and John Frommer . In December 2013Gordon Colby was awarded the 2013 Freedom & Opportunity Award by The Maine Heritage Foundation, presented with a speech by Governor LePage
Tea party activist Gordon Colby received The Maine Heritage Policy Centers 2013 Freedom and Opportunity Award on Friday at an annual event in Portland. Gov. Paul LePage addressed the audience followed by keynote speaker William O’Brien, former Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
“For his immense and unwavering dedication to Maine’s conservative movement, I am pleased to award Gordon Colby with [MHPC’s] 2013 Freedom & Opportunity Award,” said CEO J. Scott Moody - See more at: http://www.themainewire.com/2013/10/tea-party-activist-gordon-colby-receives-mhpcs-freedom-opportunity-award/#sthash.z1YX1GfG.dpuf
There are three types of conservatives. There are the fiscal conservatives, constitutional conservatives and the Libertarians. One can be a fiscal conservative without being a constitutional conservative but one cannot be a constitutional conservative without being a fiscal conservative. Libertarians can be said to be both fiscal and constitutional conservatives but, to my view they make far too light of the role of national defense in bringing the colonies together to form a union of states and forget that the first war fought by the newly formed nation was the Barbary War under the president and Commander in Chief , Thomas Jefferson , fought in foreign seas.The Libertarians combine the belief in small government on the right with a foreign policy view identical to that of the left.
I was not engaged in a discussion when I received the above message and there after blocked from further access to the Maine Conservative Patriots, which the Maine Wire article tells us is the Knox and Lincoln County Tea Party (KLTP)-"the largest and most influential group of its kind in Maine". Lincoln County is where I am located. Knox and Lincoln County are part of Midcoast- and Midcoast is supposedly now being redeveloped by the tzars of the state governed town of MRRA.
The last post I made on Maine Conservative Patriots was critical of Governor Paul LePage, comparing LePage to a stage magician who directs the audience to look at what he is doing with one hand to divert attention from what he is doing with the other. The hand with which LePage directs our attention is fiscally conservative, while the hand from which LePage wants to divert our attention repeatedly violates principals of constitutional conservativism and aggressively advances state corporatism.
Fiscal conservatives applaud LePage for paying down Maine's hospital debt (or so it is projected, there has not been enough time to validate the projections) . LePage's plan begins with re-instating the liquor industry as a government function. In 2003, The legislature, under Democratic leadership , had returned the liquor industry to the private sector. Re-instating a state owned liquor industry is, without a doubt, an expansion of government and can only be said to be fiscally conservative by factoring in projections of future earnings. In 2003, when the legislature voted to privatize the liquor industry, they did so with these words:
The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to seek efficiencies and cost savings from privatizing the State's wholesale liquor business. Title 28-A: LIQUORS Part 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS Chapter 3-A: ADMINISTRATION AND ORGANIZATION§88. Transfer of wholesale liquor activities
In 2003 a state controlled liquor industry had been tried and failed. LePage's theory is based on a belief that his administration can run a liquor industry better than past administrations. It begs the question- what does running a liquor industry have to do with government functions, especially from the conservative world view, which rests on the belief that the best government is the smallest possible government ?
My comments on Maine Conservative Patriots were in response to a Kennebunk Journal article reporting on a speech given by Governor Lepage at Maine's public charity, The Maine Technology Institute - the choice of the Governor's venue being significant in identifying LaPage's political alliances. Politics is, after all, much to do with imagery and perceptions, and so here we have the image of Governor Paul LePage presenting his new economic plan at The Maine Technology Institute, located at Brunswick Landing, or by another name, MRRA ( Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority )
Gov. Paul LePage outlined legislation Monday to create “Open for Business Zones,” which he says would attract major employers by providing generous tax incentives and exempting them from collective bargaining requirements – a proposal that already is drawing criticism from labor unions......... The major components would provide a 100 percent corporate tax credit for the first 10 years and a 50 percent credit for the next 10; offer sales tax exemptions and reimbursements for as long as 20 years; and offer annual reimbursement to businesses under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Trust Fund to lower energy costs.Lepage introduces a Right To Work initiative by tying it to an aggressive expansion of corporatism. The controversy is over Right To Work, distracting from the bi-partisan plan to expand Maine's taxpayer redistribution policies. Democrats frame it as a plan to "allow CEOs the right to pay workers less and deny them access to health care and retirement" but nothing could be further from the truth. The legislature's "targeted sector" is defined as providing higher than average incomes. The assortment of taxpayer give-aways associated with jobs that provide above average incomes for the area where a company is located, incentives companies to target that above average mark. With respect to LePage's fiscal conservationism, the plan would allow corporations to pay at a lower rate if they locate in areas where the average income is lower, while the state has written"social justice" provisions providing all the best benefits for its targeted sector, all along. The Democrats must know this, they have been writing the bills, during their long tenure of political control. The term "social justice"( or versions there of) is a main-stay of Maine's government and /or "qausi" websites.
The business zones would be wherever eligible companies decided to locate . Eligibility requires an investment of more than $50 million and the creation of at least 1,500 jobs. The article doesn't mention if the companies in Open For Business Zones will get the 80% payroll Pine Tree Zone tax credit ( meaning Maine tax payers cover 80% of a companies payroll tax) but a tax credit is a reimbursement and "reimbursement" is thrown into the paragraph above, as if to be read as a superfluous elaboration of "sales tax" but which can also mean any tax that is reimbursed especially in consideration of the speaking venue - the MRRA - prime real-estate for the "targeted sector"and the Pine Tree Zone tax incentives as well as the Maine Technology Institute investment matching grants. I haven't checked the Pine Tree Zone for restrictions such as those included in the Expanded and Improved Seed Capital Tax Credit.
His proposal to offer massive tax breaks to lure businesses also includes a controversial exemption from collective bargaining.
The Improved and Expanded Seed Capital Tax Credit offers a the 60% tax credit on investments. When the Expanded and Improved Seed Capital Tax Credit was signed into law last year,Lepage refused to sign it because he said it was not impactful enough. When I went back to my own post to retrieve the link to verify that statement, I found that the link to the Bangor Daily News article had been altered to go to Page Not Found. (I have been writing on an off, on this blog about the links that are posted here in, which are then altered by an unidentified outside source.) I found the article by going into the code to retrieve the correct search term. Here is the quote from that article:
LePage is declining to sign the bill not because he doesn’t support the program, Butera said, but because he believes the bill could have been “more impactful.”
“When he puts his name on something, there’s ownership and shows he bought into it,” Butera said. “He buys into the concept, but he feels the numbers and the bill wasn’t impactful enough.”
The Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit program allows people who invest no more than $500,000 in a Maine business with less than $3 million in gross sales to receive tax credits equal to 60 percent of the investment. It also provides tax credits to venture capital firms. http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/22/news/state/lepage-supports-but-will-not-sign-economic-development-bill/So, if LePage had his way, it is possible that the investment terms for the Expanded and Improved Seed Capital Tax Credit would be inclusive of investors in the $50 million dollar target range. As it stands today, it does not apply. If it did, that would mean a tax credit of 30 million dollars gifted by the taxpayer to the capitalist.
Both the "Open For Business plan and the Pine Tree Zone provide 100% corporate tax exemptions ( Pine Tree Zone also provides 100% personal tax exemption) The rational must be that the income tax on employees will justify the corporate tax exemption- but that means the owners of the means of production pay no taxes-and the workers do, and the taxes the workers pay are likely to become part of the next round of tax payer give aways to the owners of the means of production - all for the cause transforming Maine into a corporate culture, and with all that concentrated capital melded together with the power of big government and extracted from the rest of the economy, the corporate culture will be able to easily bull doze over anything that is in its way. The legislature justifies its re-distributive policies with clams of public benefit but the public has to pay twice for its share of the benefit- the first time in contributing each one's "fair share" of taxpayer gifts to private capitalists, and then again one has to earn one's "fair share" of the public benefit in an exchange of values within the free enterprise system.
A company coming into an area bringing 1500 jobs has the potential to completely transform that area in both predictable and un-forseen ways with less of an impact on urban areas than a rural community.
Back to Gordon Colby, key man in the Maine Conservative Patriots, which recently blocked this blogger for "deep-thinking":
He (Gordon Colby) believed progressive politicians, since even before Woodrow Wilson, had been advancing a philosophy that sees government as the solution to all of man’s problems. - See more at: http://www.themainewire.com/2013/10/tea-party-activist-gordon-colby-receives-mhpcs-freedom-opportunity-award/#sthash.z1YX1GfG.mGVTzhN9.dpuf
Meanwhile, one of the corporate states programs is the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development which statutorily excludes the retail sector, which makes up much of Main Street. Imagine our communities without Main Street, perhaps the state of things to come if the aggressive expansion of state corporatism is allowed to escalate, and LePage has demonstrated his very large appetite to do just that.
This might be called a massive population displacement plan being conducted by Maine's legislature and administration
I wish I could say there is a candidate in the race running on reversing Maine's headlong train wreck into corproatism- but I can't and so the choice is between who will do the least damage, who will be the least effective in advancing the corporate state? That is the question until a candidate appears in the field offering a more inspiring basis for a decision. I pray for that.
This is a summary of the actual bill, in which I discovered three important provisions which were not covered in the Kennebec Journal article which I have been using as a source: They are:
- Provides employment tax increment financing benefits for qualified investments. The reimbursement under this subsection is equal to 80% of Maine income tax withheld each year for which reimbursement is requested and attributed to those qualified employees for a period of no more than 10 years. In years 11-20, the certified business is eligible for a reimbursement of 50% of Maine income tax withheld each year for which reimbursement is requested. Reimbursement under this paragraph may not be paid for years beginning after December 31, 2034.
- Enable access to a pool of up to $500 million in bond funding from the Finance Authority of Maine for transformational Economic Development Projects. Financing assistance for any one major business expansion project may not exceed $400,000,000. This program would provide long-term, credit-enhanced financing up to $400,000,000 at taxable bond rates for businesses creating 1,500 jobs and investing more than $50 million
- Provides access to extensive workforce development assistance, training and recruitment by empowering the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development and the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to work with agencies across state government involved in employment or skill training to identify and marshal financial resources to help a certified company recruit and train workers. The proposal also identifies available funding for the Governor’s Jobs Initiative Program, as defined in Title 26 §2031, so that qualified businesses can access it for training. (emphasis mine)
I will have more to say later
Section 14. Authority and procedure for issuance of bonds. The credit of the State shall not be directly or indirectly loaned in any case, except as provided in sections 14-A, 14-B, 14-C and 14-D. The Legislature shall not create any debt or debts, liability or liabilities, on behalf of the State, which shall singly, or in the aggregate, with previous debts and liabilities hereafter incurred at any one time, exceed $2,000,000, except to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or for purposes of war, and except for temporary loans to be paid out of money raised by taxation during the fiscal year in which they are made, and except for loans to be repaid within 12 months with federal transportation funds in amounts not to exceed 50% of transportation funds appropriated by the federal government in the prior federal fiscal year; and excepting also that whenever 2/3 of both Houses shall deem it necessary, by proper enactment ratified by a majority of the electors voting thereon at a general or special election, the Legislature may authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State at such times and in such amounts and for such purposes as approved by such action; but this shall not be construed to refer to any money that has been, or may be deposited with this State by the Government of the United States, or to any fund which the State shall hold in trust for any Indian tribe. Whenever ratification by the electors is essential to the validity of bonds to be issued on behalf of the State, the question submitted to the electors shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth the total amount of bonds of the State outstanding and unpaid, the total amount of bonds of the State authorized and unissued, and the total amount of bonds of the State contemplated to be issued if the enactment submitted to the electors be ratified. For any bond authorization requiring ratification of the electors pursuant to this section, if any bonds have not been issued within 5 years of the date of ratification, then those bonds may not be issued after that date. Within 2 years after expiration of that 5-year period, the Legislature may extend, by a majority vote, the 5-year period for an additional 5 years or may deauthorize the bonds. If the Legislature fails to take action within those 2 years, the bond issue shall be considered to be deauthorized and no further bonds may be issued. For any bond authorization in existence on November 6, 1984, and for which the 5-year period following ratification has expired, no further bonds may be issued unless the Legislature, by November 6, 1986, reauthorizes those bonds by a majority vote, for an additional 5-year period, failing which all bonds unissued under those authorizations shall be considered to be deauthorized. Temporary loans to be paid out of moneys raised by taxation during any fiscal year shall not exceed in the aggregate during the fiscal year in question an amount greater than 10% of all the moneys appropriated, authorized and allocated by the Legislature from undedicated revenues to the General Fund and dedicated revenues to the Highway Fund for that fiscal year, exclusive of proceeds or expenditures from the sale of bonds, or greater than 1% of the total valuation of the State of Maine, whichever is the lesser.
Glad to see this:
- Reference Committee Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development
Last House Action 4/14/2014 - Reports READ.
On motion of Representative HERBIG of Belfast, REPORT A Ought Not to Pass was ACCEPTED.
ROLL CALL NO. 699
(Yeas 91 - Nays 55 - Absent 5 - Excused 0)
In concurrence. ORDERED SENT FORTHWITH.
Placed in the Legislative Files. (DEAD)
Last Senate Action 4/11/2014 - TAKEN from the Table by the President.
Subsequently, Report A Ought Not To Pass ACCEPTED
Roll Call Ordered Roll Call # 574
22 Yeas - 13 Nays- 0 Excused - 0 Absent PREVAILED
Ordered sent down forthwith for concurrence.