The Never-Ending Session: Candidate Welfare vs. Tax Conformity

7/12/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,

The legislative session that was supposed to end in mid-April reconvened for “veto day,” this week, but as swamp politicians take another two-week recess, the end of this extra session is nowhere in sight.

Candidate Welfare and tax conformity remain the two sticking-points keeping this never-ending session alive.

Fortunately, there was some major action this past Monday at the Coliseum on the Kennebec.

House Republicans held firm and sustained Gov. Paul LePage’s vetos on three potentially devastating pieces of legislation.

First, the House GOP caucus sustained the governor’s veto of an expansion of medical welfare for the young and healthy.

This Medicaid expansion was enacted by citizen initiative with a vague, deceptive ballot question backed by a dishonest propaganda campaign and funded by millions of dollars in out-of-state dark money flooded into the state to deceive Maine voters.

Gov. LePage has repeatedly said he will move forward with the expansion if the legislature finds the money to fund it without:

  • Raising taxes on hardworking Mainers;
  • Gutting needed programs for Maine’s elderly, disabled and veteran populations;
  • Raiding Maine’s surplus and rainy day fund.

The legislature was not able to meet those terms, so the governor followed through on his word and vetoed the expansion. Fortunately, enough House Republicans stood together to sustain the veto.

As they did on two other bills that are blatant violations of your constitutional rights.

Thought-Police Leftists fell short of the two-thirds vote needed in the House to override Gov. LePage’s veto of a bill that would have criminalized any negative conversation regarding gender confusion. Of course, this bill stepped all over your Freedom of Speech.

And gun-grabbers watched in dismay as they also fell short of the votes required to overturn the governor’s veto of a so-called, “red flag” bill. Had the veto been overridden, the bill would have allowed judges to arbitrarily confiscate guns from Mainers they deem to be threats.

In total, House Republicans voted to sustain nearly two dozen LePage vetoes. The vetoes add more than $40-Million back to the state surplus — after Leftist swamp creatures had spent nearly every dime of the $139-Million of the budget surplus generated by Gov. Paul LePage’s two terms of fiscal discipline. That would be enough money to almost entirely wipe out the state’s notorious waitlist for medical care for elderly and disabled Mainers — IF the swamp politicians prioritized the waitlists.

The legislature also approved the transportation bond. Voters will have the opportunity to approve or deny the bond when they vote in the 2018 Midterms in November.

That leaves two major issues holding up the session: Candidate Welfare and Tax Conformity.

Monday, for the second time, the House has passed legislation fixing an error in the budget that stopped Welfare for Politicians from flowing to candidates after June.

Meanwhile, the Senate passed a tax conformity bill to align the state and federal tax codes. This bill would provide Mainers with a $40-Million tax break and ease the burden on small business who are currently having to keep two sets of books — one for the state and one for the federal government.

But as per usual, the Speaker of the Swamp and the RINO-in-Chief in the Senate are working together.

The Democrat bill the House passed does shave a couple of grand off of how much welfare the politicians can receive. The bill also includes a few other minor changes, which you can see in the image below.

Since it doesn’t appear there are enough votes to override a LePage veto, Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) is holding the Candidate Welfare bill while leadership in the House and Senate try to coerce a few more Republicans to hop on the Candidate Welfare crack bandwagon.

As leverage to win those votes, Speaker Gideon is holding up the tax conformity bill in the House.

The result, the Gideon/Thibodeau Legislature is forcing you to pay more in taxes until enough Republicans agree that Mainers should be forced to fund political campaigns they detest.

They’re also keeping the tab running on this never-ending session.

And all of this is going on while Mainers are trying to enjoy the summer and aren’t paying as much attention to what’s going on at the swamp of Augusta.

And it gets even swampier.

You see, incumbents can’t raise money for their campaigns from lobbyists while the legislature is in session.

At the same time, so-called, “Clean Elections,” candidates aren’t getting any new public money until this issue is resolved. However, the Ethics Commission is taking public comments on if Welfare for Policiticans candidates should be allowed to also fundraise using traditional methods. You can weigh in on the issue by e-mailing the Ethics Commission staff at [email protected]. Feedback must be received by 5 p.m. July 16th.

Unfortunately, there is a sign of a crack in the strong front from the House GOP caucus.

Assistant Minority Leader, Ellie Espling (R-New Gloucester) is negotiating the terms of the Republican surrender. She’s proposed a Candidate Welfare “fix” that is almost identical to the one offered by Democrats, just a few numbers are different –not much more than rounding errors.

The Espling Concession is a complete cave-job and would make all the time and political capital the GOP has spent fighting this issue — and all the extra costs of this never-ending session — pointless. Under the Espling Concession, the Republicans don’t receive any “win” for the “compromise.”

Well, there is one win. Espling would be able to begin contacting lobbyists and fundraising for her competitive Senate run to fill Sen. Eric Brakey’s open seat. So, under the Espling proposal, Democrats, Welfare for Politicians Candidates and Espling would be the winners — while Maine residents would be the obvious losers.

Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much support for the Espling Concession within the House GOP caucus. Sources at the capital tell Maine First Media, even Minority Leader Ken Fredette is against compromising on Candidate Welfare.

Credit where it’s due, Rep. Fredette has held a firm line — and held most of his caucus together — on Candidate Welfare and the various vetoes the caucus sustained.

The legislature is adjourned until July 23rd but could be called back at any time Speaker of the Swamp Sara Gideon gets the whim.

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