Maine horror novelist Stephen King, who owns property in Maine and Florida, took aim at the Republican governors of both states during a speech at a rally in support of education, unions and veterans in Sarasota, Fla., last week.
King, an outspoken Democrat, called Maine Gov. Paul LePage a “stone brain.” He also compared LePage, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker to the Three Stooges.
“So, you’ve got LePage in Maine, Walker in Wisconsin, you’ve got Scott in Florida. Larry, Curly and Moe. That’s what we’ve got here,” he said, according to a video of the event posted on YouTube.
The multimillionaire also questioned why he isn’t asked to pay more in federal taxes.
“As a rich person, I pay 28 percent tax. What I want to ask you is, why am I not paying 50 percent? Why is anybody in my bracket not paying 50?” he asked. “Well, you know what? The Republicans will tell you — from John Boehner to Mitch McConnell to Rick Scott — that we can’t do that. Because if we tax guys like me, there won’t be any jobs. It’s bull. It’s plain, old bull.”
King said he and his wife, Tabitha, try to make up the difference between what they pay in taxes and the 50 percent threshold they feel is appropriate by making charitable donations to support libraries, schools, fire departments and veterans.
He also sarcastically praised Scott’s decision to decline federal funding for a rail line in Florida.
“He’s probably right, probably it would be a bad deal, considering how low the price of gasoline is,” King said. “Who would want to get on a railroad when they can ride scenic I-4? And wait in traffic? Maybe my next horror novel could star Rick Scott.”
King ended his roughly five-minute speech by praising unions for gains that he said benefit all workers.
“Remember, when these people talk to you about it, if you like the weekend, thank a union guy. If you like a 40-hour week, thank a union guy. If you like a day’s honest pay for a day’s honest work, thank a union guy,” he said.
FRANCO DAY THIS WEEK
Franco-Americans will be honored Wednesday with several events at the State House.
Gov. Paul LePage, Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, a host of dignitaries and 2011 Hall of Fame inductees will participate in a news conference at noon in the Hall of Flags.
The House will come in at 9 a.m. — one hour early — to accommodate official Franco Day activities, which include the singing of the French national anthem and passage of a proclamation honoring Francos in Maine.
L.D. 932, “An Act to Allow Concealed Weapons in the State House,” is headed to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon, told the Times Record in Brunswick that he’s “trying to encourage people to get a concealed weapons permit because I believe an armed society is a safer society.”
Expect vigorous debate on this one, with Democrats arguing that it’s not necessary to have guns in the State House to increase safety.
MARIJUANA ADVOCATES TO LOBBY
Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine is urging supporters to come to the State House on Thursday for hearings on two decriminalization bills.
L.D. 754 would remove criminal penalties for possession of as much as 5 ounces of pot. L.D. 750 would decriminalize possession of six or fewer marijuana plants.
The public hearings are set for 1 p.m. in Room 436 of the State House.
THIS WEEK IN APPROPRIATIONS
The Appropriations Committee will take up some of the less controversial parts of the budget this week, including education, corrections and public safety.
The one exception will be this afternoon, when there’s expected to be opposition to a proposed change in the child development services program. The budget proposes to eliminate a provision that allows developmentally delayed children to get services for an additional year rather than go to kindergarten.
Because it’s so controversial, it was removed from the supplemental budget. Now it’s back as part of the two-year budget. A public hearing on that part of the budget is set for 1 p.m. today.
SHUTDOWN DAY FRIDAY
State offices will be closed Friday, for the 18th of 20 planned shutdown days that were scheduled to balance the state budget.
MaineToday Media State House Writers Rebekah Metzler and Susan Cover contributed to this column.