In a recent Maine Voices column (“Lawmakers should have to vote on governor’s budget before fixing it,” Feb. 22) Gerald Weinand urged lawmakers to take a preliminary up-or-down vote on Gov. LePage’s proposed two-year budget as a tactic to back Republicans into a corner.
We completely disagree with this approach. The Appropriations Committee has proven time and time again that — unlike our counterparts in Washington — we can strongly disagree and still get work done.
We have seen Republicans in Congress play these political games with budgets and Maine and the American people continue to pay the price.
Maine Republicans and Democrats have an opportunity to show we can do better. Right now, the governor has sent us a harmful budget proposal that no one likes. It will hurt middle class and working families, and short-change our schools. We need to be honest about the fact that the governor’s budget raises taxes — property taxes that will hurt businesses and disproportionately hit our middle class. The governor’s proposal is incentive enough for all legislators — Democrats or Republicans — to be eager and ready to come to the table and put together a budget that puts Maine families first.
Democrats support a thoughtful alternative that asks the wealthy to pay their fair share and creates a fair tax system. We also know we will have to make cuts and find lasting efficiencies. We were elected to show leadership, to solve problems and work together — not play political stunts — and that’s what we plan to do.
Rep. Mike Carey, D-Lewiston, and Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono, are members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.