Wednesday, December 11, 2013
As state treasurer, my job does not include commenting on political advertisements. However, it does require that I defend and help enhance Maine state government's vitally important credit rating.
Angus King, independent candidate for U.S. Senate, in a TV ad that says while he was governor Maine received its “highest bond rating ever,” a claim that’s not accurate, according to State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin.
Entrepreneurs use these objective measurements to help assess state business climates in deciding where to start/expand their companies, and to create jobs. Investors rely on credit reports to identify the most secure and promising state bonds to buy, thereby lending money to those states to build roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects.
All of this strengthens a state's economy, providing more private sector jobs. Maine's credit rating is serious business.
I was disappointed to read about a misleading political TV advertisement in the Sept. 9 issue of the Maine Sunday Telegram that references our state's credit rating, the Truth Test article "King ad right on tax decrease, dubious on bond rating." The TV ad includes the troubling language,"As governor, he got the highest bond rating ever." Unfortunately, the TV ad is not accurate.
Maine state government earned "the highest bond rating ever" of AAA during 1978-1991 by Standard and Poor's, one of three national credit rating agencies. It achieved the same top distinction of Aaa from 1944 to 1974 from Moody's, a second rating agency. Maine has never been awarded the AAA score by Fitch, the third agency. Unlike the claim in the political TV ad, our state's credit rating never reached the highest level by any rating agency during 1994-2002.
Maine's credit rating is a visible sign of our economic and fiscal health. Entrepreneurs and investors regularly use it to help decide where they should invest their money and create jobs. It should always be reported accurately and truthfully.
I strongly recommend that the contents of the aforementioned political TV ad be corrected as soon as possible.
Wake up from 'fairy dust' and increase taxes of rich
The real "job creators" are middle-class families with decent incomes who can buy things. The economy doesn't have enough of those confident consumers right now and that's why the recovery has been so painfully slow. But some career right-wing politicians would have us believe the real problem is that rich people don't have enough money.
That's the reasoning behind extending tax cuts for families making over $250,000 a year cuts that were instituted at a time of big government surpluses.
Despite today's record deficits, the Republican Party would slash public revenue so that quarter-millionaires and their wealthier pals would have more money to do what? Spend? Not likely. Much more likely to put away perhaps in overseas bank accounts and foreign stock markets. None of which helps Maine's economy or unemployed workers.
This is the fairy dust of trickle-down economics that lines the pockets of fat cats and clobbers the middle class.
Both political parties agree that tax cuts should be extended for the 98 percent of American households making less than $250,000 a year. Those are the folks who would take the money saved and inject it into the local economy, creating jobs.
Meanwhile, the revenues raised from increasing taxes on the wealthy could be used for debt reduction and smart, targeted public investments in roads, schools, research, health care and all the other services that also directly and indirectly boost employment.
"Bipartisanship" and "compromise" usually result in the vast majority of Americans giving in to the desires of the wealthy few an economic elite very effectively represented by the Republican Party.
Our two Republican senators have sometimes displayed courage and independence, siding with the working people of Maine instead of their party. This tax debate is a time to show us once again where their true loyalties lie.
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