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Alex Hammer

Words to Live By
By Alex Hammer
Feb 12, 2006 - 1:17:00 PM

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The high cost of health care coverage has become a crushing burden, creating a drag on our economy, threatening businesses small and large…The growing cost of health care is at the root of the state’s financial problems, and is affecting our economy in ways we may not even realize…Make no mistake, we are in the early stages of a health care financing crisis that will only get worse without strategic action… The sooner we rein-in the high cost of health care, the sooner we can put more Maine people to work in good paying jobs and get our economy moving.

Governor John Baldacci
Inauguration Speech January 8, 2003

A few samples from a much larger collection:

In 2005 the State of Maine witnessed a contentious budget battle along party lines.  Reacting to the passage of a budget eked out by Democrats 18-16 in the Senate (and 77-73 in the House) Senate Republican leader Paul Davis remarked “The Democrats had the numbers, and they got what they wanted. This is no different than a bully stealing a ball just because he can. In this case, the bully has stolen the checkbook and the credit card, and our children will be left to pay the bill”. He added “This budget was approved with absolute arrogance rooted in ignorance and capped off with a Democratic Governor offering praise. It was disgusting.”

The language was just as strong on taxes. Explaining a Washington, D.C. based Tax Foundation report tabbing Maine as the highest-taxed state in the country, Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Maine Heritage Policy Foundation commented that the report should “come as no surprise. The governor and the legislature raised taxes, fines and fees hundreds of million of dollars over the last year and they ignored federal tax breaks, costing Maine families additional millions. The most disturbing aspect of this whole situation is that all the while, they claimed not to raise taxes.”

Regarding Maine’s bond ratings, the Bangor Daily News on 5-11-05 reported “Gov. John E. Baldacci sounded upbeat and encouraged Tuesday after his meeting Monday with Wall Street bond brokers, whom he described as generally supportive of Maine’s efforts to improve the state’s economic profile…Baldacci said Tuesday the $400 million borrowing proposal in the current budget didn’t come up with the financial representatives he met.” On 5-25-05, the same newspaper reported “Following through with a warning issued four months ago, Moody’s Investor’s Services announced Tuesday it would drop Maine’s bond rating…The announcement hardly caught legislative leaders or state officials by surprise…’The downward pressure on Maine’s rating is driven largely by the steady narrowing of the state’s financial operations over the past several years as indicated by slow progress towards restoration of depleted reserves, (a) continuing tight liquidity position leading to four years of cash flow borrowing and the use of one-time solutions to balance the state’s operating budget’ Moody’s stated in a press release.”

Additionally, the very same day as this reported bad economic news for Maine, 5-25-05, USA Today reported regarding states collectively, under a headline entitled “States Take in Record $600B” “State government revenues are soaring again, ending a period of budget shortfalls…In another sign that hard times are over, states borrowed 23% less in the first four months of 2005 than a year earlier, according to The Bond Buyer, a newspaper that tracks government finance.”

And finally, lest we stray too far from where we began:

It’s been a long time since the state has had a Democratic governor and a Democratic Legislature. But that gives me neither the license nor the liberty to move forward on any of my proposals without the involvement of the other parties.

Governor John Baldacci 
Inauguration Speech January 8, 2003


Alex Hammer is an Independent candidate for Governor residing in Bangor. The campaign’s website is www.hammer2006.com.


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