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How the Maine Legislature Robbed the Department of Corrections to Fund Industry Partnerships

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The debate over Governor LePage's budget is a hot one. Last night I commented on an article in the Bangor Daily News

  Here we go again’: Maine communities fight LePage plan to cut state aid

Once again my  comment is not to be found this morning, using a search of my user name. A reply I made to someone elses comment comes up but not my own comment, which mirrors the way in which my ability to posts tweets on #mepolitcs was temporarily disabled (now back to norm). Direct posts are affected but not replies to others:

When I posted, I made a screen shot in case my comment would once again be scrubbed:

That's not say easy to read so here it is in text form:
The state took money from its own government services to finance Industry partnerships in 2013- yet another bill to redistribute taxpayer money to private businesses, which is not a government function. The fiscal note LD 90 shows funds taken from numerous standard government functions. The amount taken from the corrections department budget is almost as much as the emergency funding now required to finance the corrections department. This is what happens when centrally managing the economy is declared to be an "essential government function" as it was in the late seventies. That so called essential government function- which takes money out of taxpayer pockets to give to private businesses takes over the whole government until it has a vampire effect on what are really essential government functions such as the corrections department- the consolidation of power in the hands of the state is the natural evolution of such a central management system which uses false financial reasoning to argue for the continued consolidation of its own power - false because it is always using fragmentation to make its case- such as municipal governments cost the state money- but financing private businesses does not? And all the taxpayers in Maine are not funding those businesses ? mostly in urban centers ! So now we have a state at war with its people and its municipalities- a state that takes the attitude that the people and the municipalities exists to serve its agenda and not that the state exists to serve the people- and uses financial reasoning while pretending ignorance of underlying principals of political philosophy. Maine needs to get back to our roots and cleanse ourselves of the extra layer of government which threatens to consume all else and eliminate all other sources of power. Scrubbed comment by Mackenzie from the Bangor Daily News story   ‘Here we go again’: Maine communities fight LePage plan to cut state aid

Recently I noticed news stories on emergency funding for the Corrections Department and another story promoting the state's new program for "creating jobs" via the new Industry Partnerships Program When I was creating the timeline the 2013 bill for Industry Partnerships stood out because the bill was taking central management to a whole new level. It declared that the state would manage relationships between private business in the state of Maine and to fund this new government function it was taking funds out of traditonal government functions including the Corrections Department.

The most recent Bangor Daily News story on the Industry partnerships program is headlined
 Making Maine competitive starts with giving people a competitive edge !Maine House Speaker Mark Eves is proposing a $5 million, five-year initiative this winter to jumpstart Maine Industry Partnerships. The North Berwick Democrat is proposing seed funding in hopes of launching 10 such partnerships across the state through a program the Legislature started in 2013, but to which it allocated limited funding.
Last month, Eves highlighted one partnership example already in place in York County. There, about 30 businesses, with the help of the Manufacturers Association of Maine, came together and decided there was a regional need for workers skilled in precision machining. The Legislature kicked in about $300,000, and Pratt & Whitney — which manufactures engine parts for military and commercial jets at a 1,300-employee North Berwick facility — put up another $250,000 to start a precision machining program at York County Community College. The first class of 15 students in the certificate program graduated last spring. At the same time there were these two stories on funding problems at the Department of Corrections:
In another news story Governor LePage deplores the lack of sound fiscal management by the Department of Corrections:
LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver
The move would allow LePage to appoint a receiver “when, in the judgment of the governor, the state Board of Corrections system, for whatever reason, fails to fulfill the goal of sound fiscal management,” the amendment states. The receiver would be in place until June 30 of this year. At issue are funding shortfalls totaling nearly $2.5 million this year for Maine’s 15 county jails. Five of those jails — in Aroostook, Cumberland, Penobscot, York and Androscoggin counties — are in danger of closure by the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30. Sheriffs and lawmakers from those counties have said they would have to refuse to accept new prisoners or release inmates if they ran out of money.

But take a look at the fiscal note for the 2013 LD90 bill creating industry partnerships as a new government function, including Industry Partnership Grants

MAINE LEGISLATURE This amendment removes General Fund appropriations to the Department of Corrections of $955,500 in fiscal year 2013-14 and $1,313,417 in fiscal year 2014-15, removes the General Fund appropriation to the Executive Department of $100,000 per year beginning in fiscal year 2013-14 and reduces funding to the Department of Labor by $114,017 and $112,208 in fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively. The bill as amended by this amendment has a General Fund cost of $2,250,000 in fiscal year 2013-14 and $2,765,000 in fiscal year 2014-15 as shown in the table below

So in order to fund Industry Partnerships -a new state business investment program, over the last two years $2268917.00 was taken out of the budget for the Department of Corrections, which is actually an essential government function since long before the legislature deemed centrally managing the economy to be an "essential government function" -and in so doing, forgoing the consent of the governed in instituting this major  shift in the governing political philosophy of Maine!

So here we are in 2015 and Governor Lepage is deploring the Department of Corrections for its unsound fiscal management - caused by a shortfall of  $ 2500000.00 That's $231083.00 more that the legislature removed from the budget for the Department of Corrections to finance Industry Partnerships but when operating on a depleted budget costs will be higher.

The Industry Partnership Program provides publicly funded job training for jobs in Maine State Inc's corporate grid. meanwhile at the same time there is a push to transform the minimum wage into a living wage. The minimum wage is a wage that allows businesses outside the state corporate grid and not qualified to have their employees trained on the public dime to afford to train employees on the job while paying them and of course covering their own payroll taxes, unlike the corporations in the state's corporate grid which through the Pine Tree Zone tax incentives can have up to 80% of their corporate payroll taxes transformed into a burden on the general taxpayers of Maine. Many small independent business people barely making a living wage themselves when they start out- that used to be part of the American dream- pulling one's self up by the bootstraps it was called- but now the state does that but only if the business fits the state's corporate vision.

In Governor Seldon Conner's Inaugural Address he said these words pertaining to the new constitutional amendment:

Section thirteen presents a discretionary field of action which your own honor will impel you to occupy to the fullest extent.'The title of 'Special and Private Laws,' which includes so large a portion of the laws of former Legislatures, is an obnoxious one, conveying suggestions of privilege, favoritism and monopoly; though happily these evils have not in fact, stained the character of our legislation, they should not be suffered to have, even in the form of our laws, any grounds of suspicion that can be removed. Other weighty objections to special laws for private benefit are, that they are obtained at the public expense, and in their passage distract the attention of legislators from matters of public interest. The opportunity is now afforded, and the duty enjoined upon you, by the amendment, to restrict the necessity for such laws to the narrowest possible limits. An analysis and classification of the private and special laws upon the statute books, will inform you of the objects for which it is desirable to provide by general laws, if practicable. 'Many objects have been hitherto specially legislated upon although they were amply provided for by general laws. I have distinguished authority for the statement that sixty or more of the corporations created by a special act for each, by the last Legislature, could have been created and organized under general laws. The reason why the general laws have not been resorted to to a greater extent, is not, so far as I am informed, to be found in any insufficiency or defect of those laws, but in the greater ease and simplicity of the method of application to the Legislature and in the fancied higher [146 Me. 323] sanction of an authority proceeding directly from it. Section fourteen, relating to corporations is compressive and peremptory.. It relates to all corporations, except only those for municipal purposes. It clearly prohibits their creation by special acts if the objects desired can be secured under existing general laws.' ( emphasis mine) From Governor Seldon Conner's Inaugural Address  1876 - I don't have a link for this - it was found in The Maine Constitution- A reference guide by Marshall J Tinkl


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