Address existing needs instead of creating new ones

Almost midway through the legislative session it appears that little will be done to address rising prices, lower our electric bills or allow workers to keep more of what they earn. What’s more, Democrat leadership has refused to even consider bills that would stop the move toward “California Rules” that will eliminate gas powered vehicles.

I believe that we need to take care of our own citizens, veterans and seniors first. Millions is being spent to accommodate the first of 75,000 asylum seekers that Governor Mills has pledged to attract to Maine. I can’t begin to tell you how many people are upset that asylum seekers are being put up in rent-free luxury apartments in Brunswick while tent cities are spreading throughout Maine.

The State of Maine has been the recipient of billions of dollars in federal money and over-collected tax revenues from Maine taxpayers. Despite this wealth transfer from Maine families to government, programs that serve Maine citizens are experiencing shortfalls in unexpected places.

As a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Education, I recently raised the issue of the delays that special purpose, private schools have been experiencing in receiving funding for specials needs children. Delays adversely affect children’s learning which can cause them to regress and have to start over again.

In response to my questions about how we can do better to assure that these funds could be expedited and delivered in a more timely fashion, Education Commissioner Makin said that she would look into it and stated a commitment to ensuring that they receive the funds.

Another shortfall that needs to be addressed is full funding for the tax stabilization for seniors this past year. You may recall that the Legislature created the law to help seniors remain in their homes by freezing property taxes. This past session the law was repealed in the partisan budget passed by Democrats.

I felt the law should be kept in place to help seniors with the rising cost of living, but modified to address concerns. Now there is an estimated $15 million shortfall. I have been in touch with Windham town officials and am hopeful that Democrats and Republicans can work together to pass a legislation that ensures towns like Windham do not experience a shortfall for the one year the program was in existence.

Update on “California Rule” that Mandates Sale of Electric Vehicles:

In case you haven’t heard, environmental extremists used an obscure provision in state law to collect 150 signatures that triggered a Rule 127-A petition that required the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to consider adoption of the “California Rule,” which mandates the sale of electric vehicles. Right now one percent of Maine sales are electric vehicles (EVs).

A public hearing last August drew testimony from hundreds of people. For many reasons 81% of the testimony was against adopting the “California Rule.”  The lack of enthusiasm for EVs can be attributed to a number of factors, including: cost, limited charging stations, unsuitability for cold climate, limited range, negligible effect on climate change, and many others raised at the public hearing.  

In December, unelected BEP bureaucrats were on the verge of passing the “California Rules” and moving toward the goal of eliminating gas engines. A widespread power outage stopped the Board from voting and caused them to extend the public comment period until February 5.

The modified mandate would require that 51 percent of new car sales in Maine be comprised of EVs by model year 2028 and 82 percent by model year 2032. Citizens again expressed their displeasure with the proposed rule, with 1,700 people submitting comments. The BEP will vote on the matter at their March 21 meeting.

I am not against electric vehicles, it should be a consumer choice, not a government mandate. Following California is not a good idea. As a follow up to their EV mandate, California moved to outlaw small gas-powered vehicles in 2021. Imagine if Maine experienced a storm without gas powered chainsaw, pumps and generators.

It is an honor to represent part of Windham in the Legislature. If there is any way that I can be of assistance, please contact me at barbara.bagshaw@legislature.maine.gov .My office phone number is 207-287-1440. You can find me on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/BagshawForMaine. To receive regular updates, sign up for my e-newsletter at  https://mainehousegop.org/

###

Scroll to Top