Sunday, October 08, 2006


Bill Nemitz, a regular columnist for the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram had an interesting piece in today's MST regarding the "pessimism of Mainers." The column struck a note and I think Bill is on to something.

His piece deals with a Brookings Institution report that was released this week called "Charting Maine's Future" which provides a reasonably upbeat perspective of Maine's current economic picture. Coming in at this time of negativism - something always associated with the annual elections season - I found this report particularly refreshing and the Nemitz piece particularly relevant.

Nemitz based part of this column on the comments of former governor Angus King who, for the sake for full disclosure, was involved in the funding of the report. King has been reported in the media this past week as praising the report and is quoted in the Nemitz piece as saying: "That's their stock and trade, telling people how bad off they are." This is in reference to the nature of partisan politics that, as Nemitz states, "run increasingly on pure negatives."

If I see one more TABOR ad or one more for that Woodcock telling us that Maine is the "most highly taxed state in the Union," I'm gonna throw up. All I can say is I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and brother you do not know what taxes are. Long before there were sales taxes or rooms and meals taxes in Maine we had them in New York. And we paid them. I'm sure there were people complaining about them 50 years ago, but they didn't have an ad on the TV every five minutes. Geez, people might actually start to believe that nonsense.

All I can tell you is that a couple of years ago I attended a wedding in Plymouth MA for the son of one of my cousins. Attending the wedding were the groom's aunt and uncle who live in Westchester County, NY. These are people I remember meeting at family gatherings 40 years ago and I know them to be good Westchester Republicans - at least that's what mother used to say. Well they are very well off; he a retired VP from some multimillion dollar international company; she a socialite, and the live in one of the more high priced areas of Westchester. At the wedding, we got talking about local real estate and they were absolutely astounded at the fact that they had gone and looked at several beautiful new homes being build along the Massachusetts shore with price tags in the close to a million dollar range. They expressed their surprise that the taxes on the properties were only about $6,000 per year. According to the rich cousins, a similar property in NY would be taxed over $10,000. I guess it's all relative.

One of the more enlightening pieces of information coming from this Brookings report is the fact that the Maine population is actually growing. And our population is not growing because we are being overrun with Mexicans and migrant workers from Third World Countries. Maine's population is growing because rich retired people are coming to Maine because of our beautiful way of life. Imagine that.

Don't they know were the most highly taxes state in the nation? I guess not.

Or, perhaps they know what I know. That the Woodcocks and the Republicans and the pro-TABOR people are just a bunch of rich farts that want more money for themselves and they are trying to convince the few folks whose houses are in areas of Maine where there have been incredible increases in value of the land and are being "taxes out" that it's those "devils" in Augusta that are doing this to them and that by voting in the Pubs and TABOR all of their problems with go away. Sorry sister, TABOR ain't gonna do anything to save your house.

Nemitz best comments come at the end of the column:

King, who helped fund the Brookings report, likens Maine's funk to the advice he received during a motorcycle safety course: Focus on the road ahead and that's where you'll go. Stare too long at the roadside ditch, on the other hand, and guess where you'll end up?

"Maine looks in the ditch all the time," King said. "And lo and behold "

Oh, as lest you believe I am a Angus King fan, I'm not. I was one of the thousands of State workers who were fired when King came into office.


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