Quotable Quotes from the State House

On LD 1481 and limits on the citizen initiative process

(from Maine Townsman, May 2006)

“How do bills like this get serious consideration by the Legislature? I can assure you that as we legislators go door to door we do not hear the voters say to us, “We the people are the problem, please go to Augusta and take away what power we have left.”
- Rep. Barbara Merrill (Appleton)
- Bangor Daily News Op-ed (4/22/06)

“And at the next town meeting when you go home and when Mrs. Smith toddles up to you and asks you ‘so what did you do in the 122nd Legislature, dear?’, you can proudly answer ‘health plans, no, we actually tried to abolish the one we have, sorry. Tax reform, no, we nibbled around the edges, sorry. Circuit Breaker, well, we ran out of money, sorry. But Mrs. Smith, by golly, we gathered up all our courage, and in one night we made Moxie the state drink! …and Mrs. Smith, we did one more thing, we passed 1481…I sure voted to make your opinion worthless, your act illegal, and you an outlaw.”
- Rep. Herbert Adams (Portland)
- House debate on 4/27/06

On LD 1381, and new minimum teacher salary mandates
“What we’re really saying this morning is forget those promises, this is no longer a matter of property tax relief, this is a vehicle to do some back-door mandates…We’re taking away what was intended to be a property tax relief vehicle bringing equity to the state as a whole and we’re saying let’s forget about that now, let’s jump on it as a mandate opportunity…. let’s just engage in a little doublespeak here in the Legislature now and pretend that we didn’t really mandate that, and we know that we’re doing that…I don’t know how we can stand here and say that this is just an "intent" and that we’re not violating our commitment to property tax relief by obligating money up and down the state.”

- Rep. Sawin Millet, Jr. (Waterford)
- House debate on 4/28/06

“You’ll find an erosion of education and an erosion of the commitment we’ve given through LD 1 for property tax relief…this is just another increment of that kind of intrusion on the promise that we made earlier.”
- Rep. James Schatz (Blue Hill)
- House debate on 4/28/06

On LD 484, proposing an advisory question seeking direction on tax reform
“I guess I’m wondering if this Legislature is a lot more responsible than the Maine Municipal Association, (which put) on a question to say fund 55% of education but make the money grow on trees.”
- Sen. Jonathan Courtney (York County)
- Senate debate on 4/28/06

In opposition to LD 2075, the TABOR initiative, limiting the budgets and decision making authority of town meetings
“If you had to design a bill to totally screw up the entire workings of all government, I don’t think you could have done a better job than the rest of what’s in (this bill).”
- Sen. Joe Perry (Penobscot County)
- TABOR debate in Senate on 5/23/06

“Let’s be clear. If (TABOR) passes next Fall, hundreds of communities across this state would have to start cutting their budgets, have to start cutting the services that everybody depends on.”
- Sen. Ethan Strimling of Cumberland County
- TABOR debate in Senate on 5/23/06

In support of LD 2075, the TABOR initiative, limiting the budgets and decision making authority of town meetings
“I am going to be voting in favor of this and I understand that this legislation is far from perfect as you start to read it line by line."
- Sen. Jonathan Courtney (York County)
- TABOR debate in Senate on 5/23/06

“I just find that the municipalities are just incredibly ill-informed of what’s going on, what’s truly going on. And how even town government runs. They go to their town meeting and the selectmen say: ‘Well, this is what we have to do.’ OK, this is what we have to do. And they raise their hands.”
- Rep. Earl Bierman (Sorrento)
- TABOR debate in Taxation Committee on 5/20/06

On education funding
“The state should take its increased state aid to local schools and give it to colleges.”
- House Speaker John Richardson (Brunswick)
- Kennebec Journal (5/04/06)