Gov. Paul LePage’s budget and tax proposal continue to dominant politics news. As you can see, the governor has activated his once disputed TV to broadcast political messages into the Hall of Flags. Currently, those messages are all budget related. Meanwhile, leadership and rank and file Republicans continue remain relative quiet about the governor’s tax proposal. It’s unclear if all the discussions are taking place behind close doors, if at all. One thing does seem certain: The governor has taken his considerable political capital and put it behind this budget plan. He’s touted the proposal during a heavy schedule of public appearances in an attempt to sell the plan to Mainers. LePage has a history of connecting with the public during these type of appearances, particularly during the campaign. It’ll be interesting to see if Mainers buy this particular message given that the budget and a dramatic tax overhaul were not centerpieces of his reelection message. The income tax cut was not a surprise, but his method of paying for it certainly has been.

— Steve Mistler

 

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Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves will travel back to his district Wednesday in what his staff is billing as the kickoff of a “statewide jobs tour.”

 

This tour is part of Democrats’ messaging campaign about “growing good-paying jobs,” something that one safely assume that everyone wants but an initiative that thus far been void of details. It will be interesting to see if this tour will mark the start of an actual policy rollout. A media alert made such assurances.

 

Eves is scheduled to visit Pratt & Whitney’s manufacturing facility to highlight “the importance of public-private partnerships in growing good-paying jobs.”

“If we want good jobs and strong wages, we must bring our workers and businesses together to prepare for the jobs of the future. Maine’s comeback story depends on it,” said Eves in a statement. “We need a regional approach and an industry-led effort to growing good jobs, and this will be a key priority for lawmakers over the next two years.” We’ve highlighted “Maine’s comeback” because that seems to an emerging messaging theme from Maine Democrats. It also happened to be a cornerstone of President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

“Our job now is to make sure that every American feels that they’re a part of our country’s comeback.  That’s what I’ll focus on in my State of the Union – how to build on our momentum, with rising wages, growing incomes, and a stronger middle class,” Obama said during his weekly radio address.

 

—  Steve Mistler

 

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The Maine Citizens for Clean Elections will hold an event at the State House Wednesday to mark the completion of a signature drive designed to put election transparency, accountability and a strengthened public financing law to Maine voters.

 

The event in the Hall of Flags will be held on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision that has since opened the floodgates of election spending in Maine and across the country. B.J. McCollister, a spokesman for MCCE, said Tuesday that 200 people are expected to attend the event.

 

The groups said 1,000 volunteers collected signatures from over 250 towns, totaling more than 80,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

 

— Steve Mistler

 

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Here’s an interesting footnote from Tuesday’s story about how the governor’s budget could result in the taxing of conservation lands owned by private land trusts: Jonathan LaBonte, the head of the Office of Policy Management who has been helping the governor make his budget pitch, is the former executive director for the Androscoggin Land Trust. LaBonte resigned as director of the land trust in June after LePage appointed him to OPM.

 

— Steve Mistler

 

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 Noticed this during Tuesday’s budget writing committee:

 

Apparently it’s a thing:

 — Steve Mistler