May 17, 2012

Another View: Republican lawmakers have made a mark this session

It's not true, as an editorial claimed, that members of the GOP defer to the governor.

By REP. RICHARD CEBRA

Your May 15 editorial ("Legislature not making an impression on many") pointed out that 46 percent of Mainers "have no opinion about the Legislature at all," according to a Critical Insights poll. In your analysis, that's because Republicans "are content to let the governor run the show" to the point that the Legislature is "more of a formality than a co-equal branch of government."

It may be true that 46 percent of Mainers pay little attention to the Legislature. The poll was a small one. But if this Legislature has not left an impression on them, it has made an impact in undoing the damage from the past four decades of Democratic dominance.

The list of achievements is long: the largest tax cut in state history, a rescue of the public pension system, an overhaul of a dysfunctional health insurance system and a reform of the state's overly generous welfare system to bring us closer to the national norm. We embarked on regulatory reform to remove obsolete, redundant and overbearing regulations without harming the environment. We also passed five out of six budgets with overwhelming bipartisan support.

All these initiatives were geared to making government more efficient while creating a more favorable business climate and, by extension, more jobs. We also cleaned up waste and fraud at places like the Maine Turnpike Authority, where malfeasance had gone unexamined during the Democrats' reign.

As for your snide comment that Republican legislators "are content to let the governor run the show," I should mention that the same initiatives have been part of the GOP agenda in Augusta for years, long before the arrival of Gov. LePage.

Under Democratic rule, our bills and proposals went nowhere, leaving the state with a lackluster status quo. Thankfully for the people of Maine, Gov. LePage has the vision to sign them into law.

Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, is a member of the Maine House of Representatives.

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