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Thread: The MEGOP House Leader explains the difference b/t ME & NH

  1. #1

    The MEGOP House Leader explains the difference b/t ME & NH

    The Maine House Minority Leader (Republican) explains the difference between Maine and New Hampshire. Seems somewhat accurate. Also, if he feels this way, I wonder why he lives in Maine? I ask because the only other person in Maine that I know of to say such bad things about Maine and good things about New Hampshire is J. Scott Moody the head of the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

    Maine to NH: Don’t Make Our Medicaid Mistakes
    Kenneth Fredette
    Maine House Republican Leader
    March 1, 2014

    When I heard that the Great State of New Hampshire was considering an expansion of its Medicaid program under ObamaCare, the first thought I had was of a quote from Dante’s “Inferno”: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

    I say this as the Republican Leader in the Maine House of Representatives and as someone who has served on my state’s Appropriations Committee, where we spent countless late nights trying to patch the Medicaid-induced leaks in our state budget after past expansions.

    Maine and New Hampshire are two very similar states in terms of geography, culture, and population size. They are two very different states, however, in terms of economic policy. It wasn’t always this way. Decades ago, Maine took a decidedly sharp left turn, heading in the direction of more government programs and higher taxation. New Hampshire avoided the income tax, the welfare state, and other trappings of big government.

    Despite starting out in similar situations decades ago with roughly equally-sized private sector economies, New Hampshire has rapidly outpaced Maine according to almost every economic indicator.

    New Hampshire’s median household income is about $65,000 to Maine’s $48,000. Your unemployment rate has been among the lowest in the country since the recession. Liberals in Maine like to tout welfare programs that are designed to reduce poverty, but our poverty rate is 58 percent higher than yours, despite Maine ranking second in the nation for welfare spending as a percentage of overall state spending.

    It’s interesting how liberals in Maine make excuses for New Hampshire’s success while liberals in New Hampshire make excuses for Maine’s failures.

    We’ve made a lot of positive changes here in Maine thanks to Gov. Paul LePage and a Republican legislative majority in 2011-2012. Those reforms began to lower taxes, trim regulations, reform welfare, and bring some fiscal sanity to Augusta, and people are starting to take notice. But there’s a long way to go. [Unfortunately, even with Gov Paul LePage, there was a massive tax increase in Maine last year that is hurting everyone in Maine.]

    Mainers are hardworking and independent-minded people, and they’re sick of economic stagnation. I’m confident we’ll stay on the right track.

    In fact, our competitive advantage with your state would be greatly enhanced if we managed to resist ObamaCare’s welfare expansion while you embrace it.

    Over the past 10-20 years, Maine has taken the bait of federal matching funds and expanded its Medicaid program considerably while New Hampshire has declined the money and its attached strings.

    All of the promises of Medicaid expansion have fallen flat. Emergency room usage goes up, not down, with Medicaid coverage. Charity care provided by our hospitals has tripled. Federal matching rates have been slashed. Physical health outcomes are no better. Cost and enrollment levels were not manageable; instead, expansion shattered its original cost estimates.

    What this has meant for Maine’s budget, taxpayers, and economy is very tangible. Maine’s total income tax revenues collected equal the difference in cost between Maine’s and New Hampshire’s public welfare departments. So if our DHHS was the size of yours, we could eliminate our income tax.

    Medicaid’s share of the state budget has doubled since 1998 and now sits at 25 percent of all state spending. By 2024, medical welfare will consume 36 percent of our budget. State aid to municipalities is under siege, taxes continue to go up, and politicians have even raided oil spill cleanup funds to plug the perennial budget gap in our Medicaid program.

    I understand that the proposal currently being considered in Concord uses federal Medicaid expansion funds to expand subsidized private coverage on the exchange.

    That’s a better deal than the one originally offered by the feds under ObamaCare, and you can credit Republican leaders in your state’s senate with that.

    But it’s still an expansion of state government and a major strain on taxpayers over the long term, similar to what we’ve experience in Maine, and I would caution you to avoid it.

    The most important thing to remember, as citizens of the Granite State, is that the “New Hampshire Advantage” is not by accident; it is by design. Your elected officials have made good economic decisions over the years and it has paid off.

    Maine has gone down the path of Medicaid expansion before. Take it from me. You don’t want to follow us.
    Last edited by Keith and stuff; 03-03-2014 at 03:44 PM.
    Lifetime member of more than 1 national gun organization and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Part of Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty. Free State Project participant and multi-year Free Talk Live AMPlifier.

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  3. #2
    Partially in response to the above, the establishment newspaper in Dover, NH that covers the NH Seacoast and near-by parts of Maine wrote an editorial.

    Maine way is not a good way
    Saturday, March 8, 2014

    A recent community commentary by Maine’s Speaker of the House Mark Eves and State Rep. Joshua Plante provides yet another reason New Hampshire should continue to shun broad-based taxes. And for Mainers points to a legislative double-standard.

    As in New Hampshire, the Pine Tree State has a form of revenue sharing. Taxes are collected here, there and everywhere (in the case of Maine) then sent to the state. From there some find their way back to cities and towns. An example in the Granite State is the rooms and meals tax.

    But in Maine the practice is much more widespread.

    Mainers are subject to both income and sales taxes which head off to state coffers once collected. From there it is up to the legislative solons in Augusta to parcel out what can sometimes seem like nickels and dimes to local communities and school systems.

    So inconsistent has been Augusta’s willingness to return sufficient monies to cities and towns, that voters forced the adoption of legislation guaranteeing that a minimum percent of state funding be returned to local coffers.

    In response to a citizen petition, LD 1 was passed requiring the state to eventually fund 55 percent of local education costs.

    But as a quick search of the Internet finds, that goal remains as illusive as it was in 2005 when LD 1 was passed.

    For the last several years, even predating the current governor, we find Augusta skimping on education aid.

    A 2009 report by the Maine Heritage Policy Study Center documents delay after delay in implementing the ramp-up to 55 percent. Then last year the current governor, Paul LePage, was only partially overridden according to a report in the Sun Journal newspaper in an attempt to cut $9.6 million in local education aid.

    We find it interesting then that in their Feb. 27 community commentary titled, “Fulfilling Maine’s promise,” Eves and Plante sidestep the issue of education funding and castigate Gov. LePage for proposing to cut revenue sharing on the municipal side. Meanwhile, state government as a whole repeatedly looks to renege on its commitment to education funding.

    No doubt there is empathy on the New Hampshire side of the border with the tax pressures being felt by communities in Maine. But the difference is Granite State communities control more of their own fate because they depend less on legislative funding from Concord, than do Mainers from Augusta.

    Don’t get us wrong. Those with vested interests in local budgets in both states have a right — and we would argue a responsibility — to challenge state leadership over failed promises.

    The difference in New Hampshire is that taxpayers have denied state tax collectors as deep a reach into their pockets as in Maine.

    While New Hampshire should take a lesson from Maine’s mistake of welcoming both income and broad sales taxes, we have to wonder if the day is not far away when our neighbors to the east will revolt again.

    Unlike New Hampshire, Maine voters can petition their Legislature and force through laws that special interests would otherwise thwart. We can’t say we are in a hurry for New Hampshire to have government by referendum, but since Maine has it why shouldn’t voters move to deny Augusta the ability to collect sales and income taxes? Especially since Augusta can’t live up to prior revenue sharing promises.
    Lifetime member of more than 1 national gun organization and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Part of Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty. Free State Project participant and multi-year Free Talk Live AMPlifier.

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