Sunday, December 8, 2013
By GLENN ADAMS The Associated Press
AUGUSTA - Hoping to reset the tone in the battle for control of the Legislature, Maine Republican leaders said Tuesday that they kept their promises to voters by cutting taxes, reforming regulations and passing balanced budgets.
The leaders also sought to distinguish the first Republican-controlled legislature since the mid-1960s from a dysfunctional Congress, saying Maine made its accomplishments with bipartisan support.
The Republican leaders held a news conference as the two parties vie for control of the House and Senate in the Nov. 6 election. House Speaker Robert Nutting of Oakland, Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry and other leaders handed out a glossy, 16-page booklet outlining areas where they say they Republicans kept their promises to voters in the last two years.
Democrats were not impressed.
"For two years Republicans have been running Augusta, now they're running from their record. The fact is that their policies and priorities have made it harder to live, work, and invest in Maine," said Assistant Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond in a prepared statement.
"Political theater won't change the fact that too many Mainers are still out of work and that while the rest of the country has figured out ways to emerge from the recession, Maine's economy has shrunk," said Alfond.
The Democrat from Portland said Maine lost 1,300 jobs in 2011 alone, and 53,000 Maine people remain out of work.
The Republicans said their efforts led to the largest tax cut ever in Maine, a $1.7 billion debt reduction in the state pension system, more affordable insurance rates through a state health insurance overhaul and a more friendly business environment because of eased regulations.
Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney of Springvale, who led a committee that reviewed many of the regulatory reforms, said that work "set the tone for the session."