JOBS, JOBS JOBS
Everyone always talks about jobs. What we have learned during the pandemic is our small businesses have had no voice in Augusta. Small business is the backbone of the Maine economy and MUST be supported. Why our small businesses were forced to close, and yet the big box stores could still operate, made NO sense. This decision has destroyed hundreds of small businesses and we MUST do a better job of training our workforce. We have learned during this crisis how essential the trades and medical fields are to our society.
I will continue to push for “Prioritizing Spending” every second I’m in the Legislature. I would make vocational education, transportation infrastructure and high-speed broadband internet connectivity my highest priorities. Even when Democrats got almost a billion dollars of additional revenue, our roads and bridges took a back seat yet again! We are still BORROWING about $100 million a year for our roads. With the additional revenues, why are we still borrowing and not making transportation a priority?
We must have a sustainable funding source for our transportation. We depend almost entirely on the gas tax and this CANNOT continue. Every time we need more money, the Democratic answer is to raise the gas tax again. I developed a complete plan that I thought was a COMMON SENSE plan. Did you know we collect about $180 million a year in “vehicle and vehicle-related” sales tax? Did you also know one hundred percent of that tax goes into the General Fund? I developed a plan to move this money into the Highway Fund, but some worry it will hurt the General Fund. This is where the last budget comes in. With around $800 million of additional revenue, this was the perfect time to make our change, by taking about $360 million and moving it into the Highway Fund, and leaving about $440 million of additional money for them to spend in the General Fund. A $440 million increase in the General Fund would have been the largest increase ever. This change would have fully funded the Highway Fund. COMMON SENSE has left Augusta. DEMOCRATS SPENT ALL THE $800 MILLION IN THE GENERAL FUND and we are still BORROWING $100 million and PAYING INTEREST to fund our roads!