Legislature is out of touch with people trying to survive

Struggling Mainers get virtually no relief in a budget that spends $10.8 billion

This is Representative Abden Simmons of Waldoboro with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

Just last month, I won a special election to represent District 45: Bremen, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington and Louds Island. I did my best to listen to the people in those towns and the everyday challenges they face due to higher living costs. Everything costs more with no end in sight.

I went to Augusta to do whatever I can to address their needs, not those of special interest groups. At the very least, I do not think state government should add to their burdens by making it harder to live in Maine.

Unfortunately, we have a Legislature run by people that are out of touch with Maine as a whole.  

The Legislature has radically changed in the few short years that I have been away. When I served from 2017 to 2019, opposing views were respected and there was more opportunities to work together on legislation that would benefit the people back home equally, not according to race, gender, or what political party they belong to.  

From what I have experienced, that is no longer the case.

President John F. Kennedy once said that the government “is the people and the budget is a reflection of their needs.”

The Maine state budget does not address the needs of all Mainers, especially our working poor and people living on a fixed income.

With $10.8 billion dollars at its disposal, the partisan budget rammed through by Democrats should contain structural income tax relief.

It does not.

Rather than cutting taxes as proposed by Republicans, Democrats ended the legislative session 3-months early to deny even low-to-middle income tax relief.

Instead, the Democrat budget raises taxes on workers and their employers by millions of dollars by requiring paid leave.

Costs for food, goods and services will go up even more for people that can least afford it.  

It seems that every interest group except the people back home are enriched by the state budget that we pay for.

Republicans made good faith attempts to reach a consensus for all Maine people and to reign-in spending that will require more taxes down the road.

Another need I heard while going door-to-door was the need to lower energy bills.

This legislature has done nothing to lower costs or address rising electric rates. Several Republican proposals to address this problem were rejected.

When the Public Advocate warned that the Legislature needed to act by July 1 to prevent solar farm growth and net energy billing from costing Maine ratepayers $200 million more a year, this Legislature did nothing.

When Republicans joined with Democrats concerned with the impending increases, powerful solar industry lobbyists and Democrat leaders prevented a solution that would save us from higher rates.

Already unsustainable electric costs will now go up even more.  

Like my Republican colleagues, I have no intention of giving up on addressing the needs of the people back home. All the people.

This has been Representative Abden Simmons with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

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