Scarborough Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki carefully cherry-picked her data in arguing that Gov. LePage’s economic policies have helped Maine’s workers and taxpayers (“Maine Voices: Maine reaping rewards of governor’s commitment to fiscal responsibility,” July 21). But in the end, she cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Other New England states’ economies have improved at rates above the national average, but not Maine’s. Maine’s economic growth, as measured by any national statistics such as growth in income, job creation or gross domestic product, have consistently ranked near the very bottom of all 50 states. Clearly, workers have not “emerged as the winners,” and they feel it in their paychecks and their friends’ concern for their job security.
Maine property taxpayers have not fared well under Gov. LePage, either. It became apparent in the last legislative session that one of Gov. LePage’s favorite strategies for being fiscally conservative at the state level simply involved shifting more costs to the local level and the local property taxpayer. Taxpayers should thank the Legislature, not the governor, for holding the line on cuts to revenue sharing and thus relieving some pressure for property tax increases in their towns.
Rep. Sirocki’s most amazing attempt to resurrect the governor’s image comes when she minimizes the damage his unprofessional and undignified comments have had on the Maine brand. She writes, “It is easy to fixate on and sometimes chuckle over the frankness of our governor’s comments … .”
Is she serious? Mainers are proud of their state and do not chuckle when their governor’s boorish comments present Maine in a poor light to the rest of the world. Certainly seniors are not chuckling because of the governor’s “frankness” in calling their Social Security payments “welfare.”
Maine’s economy and its image both require and deserve better leadership.