2018-05-18 / Letters

Critical issues left hanging during legislative session

To the editor,

I think Rep. Stedman Seavey and his fellow House Republicans owe us an explanation as to why they decided not to extend the current legislative session. The other three caucuses –Senate Republicans and Senate and House Democrats – voted to stay in session for three to five more days and finish critical business. House Republicans dug in their heels and said they would not work beyond the statutory deadline.

Many critical issues were left hanging. This includes the issue of funding Medicaid expansion that was widely approved through a citizen’s initiative.

It is estimated that 70,000 adults would be covered through this extension. Opioid addition deaths continue to rise, but no action was taken on the hub-and-spoke model that steers people to the appropriate treatment options. The red flag gun bill to restrict guns to someone deemed a clear threat was left on the table.

In education, the funding for public schools was unfinished as well as Maine’s plan for proficiency-based diplomas. In the financial area, no action was taken on tax conformity with the new federal tax policies. This would have extended an estimated $111 million in tax cuts to Mainers through their personal, business or estate taxes.

Funding for county jails was not approved and the Downeast Correctional facility was left in limbo. Bond bills to accomplish needy road and bridge repair was left on the drawing board as well as the tax incentive programs under the Pine Tree Development Zone program.

Shame on the House Republicans for leaving critical matters on the table.

If the Legislature chooses to returns for a special session, it will cost taxpayers about $13,000 per day. Is this anyway to serve the voters of Maine?

Tom McClain

Return to top