The headline of Scott Thistle’s Sept. 1 article “The only thing longer than a Maine winter? A Maine legislative session” (Page A1) is correct, but he fails to explain the reason for this mess. People like to blame “partisan politics” for these breakdowns, but let’s be clear: Democrats and Senate Republicans were ready and willing to finish our business on time.

The House Republicans alone blocked the motion to briefly extend the session in April and May. This motion has always been a nonpartisan, routine matter.

Republican House members refused because they did not want to take up the “errors and omissions” bill, also a routine matter, because it would have fixed an unintentional mistake that appeared to have the effect of blocking payments under the Maine Clean Elections law, which the House Republican caucus despises, despite the reliance on these funds by many of its members. Their intransigence is also a travesty because they had promised to support the fix.

Only after a court order and the subsequent ruling of the ethics commission was this snafu fixed and the roadblock cleared. It was solely the House Republicans who were responsible for the long session, and blame should focus on them.

In addition, Mr. Thistle counts Gov. LePage as the victor for the passage of the tax conformity bill. However, this bill was fully supported by the Legislature’s Taxation Committee and nearly all House members and is a victory for all Mainers. It increases the fairness of our tax code, unlike the federal tax reform law.

Because it did not repeal the estate tax (as the federal law did), the governor may well veto the bill, even though there are only a handful of Maine estates large enough to tax under Maine law, and they mostly concern out-of-state decedents.

Janice Cooper

Democratic state representative


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