Skip to main content

Maine State Inc Tries a Banana Republic Takeover of Central Maine Power

One of the first things a member of the Maine Legislature does is to take an oath to uphold the Maine Constitution. After that the Maine Constitution is out of sight, out of mind until it is needed to beat down an opposition policy. Some unconstitutional policies are not opposed by any side, Democrat, Republican or Independent. One such unconstitutional policy is the right of the Maine Legislature to charter corporations by special act of legislation, prohibited by the Maine Constitution in Article Iv, Part Third, Section 14.

Ever since Governor Longley and the 1976 Maine Legislature deemed the centrally managed economy and the public-private government into existence, every administration and Maine Legislature has been chartering corporations by special act of legislation, willy nilly. This is what I mean when I use the term Maine State Inc- specifically the network of corporations chartered by special act of legislation, which are in most cases public-private relationships.

The standard language used is to identify the newly formed corporation as "a body corporate and politic serving as an instrumentality of the state". Maybe the Maine Legislature thinks that a corporation is not a corporation if it is called a body corporate but the  Merriam Webster Dictionary makes the meaning perfectly clear:

body corporate
Definition of body corporateCORPORATIONFirst Known Use of body corporate15th century, in the meaning defined above 

The latest, currently being attempted addition, to the Maine State Inc corporate network, is a Maine Sate Inc electric utility monopoly, achieved by enacting a law forcing CMP to sell its company to Maine State Inc. This violates the Maine Constitution in a multitude of ways.

The bill is strategically titled,"An Act To Restore Local Ownership and Control of Maine's PowerDelivery Systems"

Local ownership implies local control, but in this case "local ownership" is used to signify state control over a publicly financed corporation. The newly proposed monopoly is referred to in the bill as "consumer-owned" which means paid for with a public debt at a suggested price of four billion dollars.

Conversations in social media project a "democratically governed consumer owned public utility" but there is no democratic governing proposed in the bill. The only public vote is pursuant to the Maine Constitution which imposes a bond spending limit of 2 million dollars. Any amount over that requires 2/3rds approval by the Maine Legislature and an approval by public referendum.

3. Cost of service. "Cost of service" means the total amount that must be collected by the authority to recover its costs but does not include any return on capital investment unless a return is required as security for debt service. 
4. Customer-owner. "Customer-owner" means a person to whom the authority provides electricity.

The proposed bill, "An Act To Restore Local Ownership and Control of Maine's Power Delivery Systems", does not include  public referendums in governing the state owned monopoly. The governing board will be  appointed solely by the Governor. The only role played by the Legislature is approving the Governors choice. The governance of the consumer owned utility is closer to an autocracy than a democracy.

The original unelected board created under Governor Longley for the purpose of establishing the centrally managed economy and the public-private state submitted a report which included only two objectives, one was to eliminate the public referendum on municipal bonds, which is not to be found in the latest special act of legislation proposed to charter a new state-run public utility corporate board.
1. Governance; board. The authority is created as a body corporate and politic and a public instrumentality of the State and is governed by the Maine Power Delivery Authority Board in accordance with this section.
Paragraph 1 of the proposed act is a violation of the Maine Constitution, Article IV , Part Third, Section 14, states:

Section 14.  Corporations, formed under general laws.  Corporations shall be formed under general laws, and shall not be created by special Acts of the Legislature, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where the objects of the corporation cannot otherwise be attained; and, however formed, they shall forever be subject to the general laws of the State.

"An Act To Restore Local Ownership and Control of Maine's PowerDelivery Systems" is a special act of legislation whose purpose is to form a corporation (body corporate). It is indisputable that the object of the corporation- Maine power delivery- can be attained otherwise, as is currently the case.

An instrumentality of the state does not serve a municipal purpose, it serves a state purpose. Central management is a state function, not a local function. The governor, the sole authority in appointing the governing board, serves a state purpose, not a municipal purpose.

The chartering of a state governed electricity corporation does not meet either of the exceptions to the Maine Constitution's prohibition against the Legislature chartering corporations by special acts of legislation.

The taking of private property does not rise to the level of "urgent need" and so the proposed bill violates Article 1, Declaration of Rights, Section 21 of the Maine Constitution:

Section 21.  Private property, when to be taken.  Private property shall not be taken for public uses without just compensation; nor unless the public exigencies require it.

Government seizure of private property, compensated or otherwise is a Banana Republic Tactic and will send a warning to any business considering locating in Maine. If the Maine Legislature can simply deem that CMP is forced to sell to the state, then what is next ?

It is worth considering the impact of a state controlled energy monopoly on the common practice implemented by the State of wheeling and dealing in corporate welfare to attract businesses to the state. If the state owns a monopoly on energy delivery will Maine taxpayers find themselves covering the cost of free electricity for global corporations as part of the Maine corporate welfare package?


Popular posts from this blog

Communism and State Ownership of Intellectual Property

Tweet This: Government As a Secret Society The response to my informal suggestion that public accessibility to government could be improved by making information available in a searchable data base ( see previous post) subjectively confirmed that the  functioning power elite of Maine's economic development programs and policies are both intentional in instituting a political ideology that supersedes the will of the people, as expressed in the Maine State Constitution, and deceptive towards the general public. 1.Information made available on an agency website but not in a searchable database format may not provide the research and investigative tool needed by the public. The Freedom of Access Act does not require that public information be posted online in any particular format, just that public records be made available. While there is a strong argument for increasing the accessibility and usefulness of information, there is no current requ

An Incomplete Theory of Inflation Made to Order for Mass Consumption.

M oney is not what it used to be, so must our ways of thinking about it adapt. jaakko-kemppainen-unsplash The message treads across the media terrain, beating louder and louder as if to drown out the beat of the distant drummer. W arning! The only thing the stimulus will stimulate is inflation. The people will pay as the wealthy elite invests their windfalls in financial assets. Doom and gloom set to march across the land to the beat of the distribution of stimulus funds. In recent years as past predictions of fiscal disaster following stimulus spending failed to materialize and so the thinking about national debt and deficits has evolved, most noticeably with the development of  Modern Monetary Theory . In the   fall of 2020,  National Affairs  published a story,  Does the Debt Matter ? by Peter Wehner & Ian Tufts. Peter Wehner is vice president and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and served in the last three Republican administrations. Ian Tufts is a recent g

Its Not the Economy, Its the Culture!

Trump has brought into focus a long brewing social crisis SELECTED FOR THE BEST OF TREMR darren-deloach-unsplash I was a Republican, until the 2016 convention when a petition gathered enough signatures to let delegates vote their conscience, and was promptly dismissed by a voice vote.  That was when I first became aware that the Republican party was afraid, intimidated and dominated by the Trump base. I felt the party took the traditional base of the party, which included myself, for granted, as if we were party players, guaranteed to support the party, unquestionably, no matter where it went. Deeply ro o ted party obedience has been established. Many whom I once respected and are no longer recognizable. Those of us who did not follow the leaders no longer have a place in the Republican party and have largely become Independents. I voted straight blue in the last election, but consider myself Independent. There is no reason to believe that either one party or the other will continue to