AUGUSTA – Flanked by his party’s leading legislative committee members, Assistant House GOP leader Joshua Tardy laid out a Republican six-point “pledge for prosperity” for the state Tuesday that was immediately dismissed by House Democrats.
“This rises to much more than attacking Democrats for what they have done for the past 32 years and it’s not just about where we’ve been and where we are,” said Tardy, a two-term lawmaker from Newport. “It’s also about where we need to go and our caucus has been working on what our agenda would look like if we were the party in power.”
Declaring “Maine is at a crossroads,” Tardy urged voters to cast their ballots on Nov. 7 for GOP candidates for the incoming 123rd Legislature, whom he promised would set the state on a “a different, more hopeful path.”
As part of the new GOP agenda, Tardy said House Republicans would:
. Balance the next state budget with two-thirds majority support and no tax increases or shifts in order to restore trust and accountability in state government.
. Provide personal income tax reduction, regulatory and tax relief for small businesses and stimulate the economy through job creation.
. Reinforce Maine’s commitment to health care and lower the high cost of insurance.
. Reinforce Maine’s commitment to educational excellence.
. Implement a comprehensive plan for the state’s environmental, energy and renewable energy needs for a more efficient and independent Maine.
. Keep Maine safe by ensuring the public and personal safety of our communities and our children.
Tardy acknowledged his party must first win the majority in order to set the agenda in the House. He believes Mainers want change in state government and will hand over the reins of power by electing GOP lawmakers.
“We’re optimistic as Maine Republicans about our future and we feel that Maine’s true potential is yet to be tapped,” Tardy said.
Democratic House Speaker John Richardson of Brunswick and House Majority Leader Glenn Cummings, D-Portland, both dismissed the Republican pledge, saying many of the goals had already been accomplished by the Democratic majority in the State House.
“I’m glad they’re pledging to help us and that with two weeks left before the elections, they’re letting Maine people know what they stand for,” Richardson said. “But this is not a plan and the pledge lacks specifics.”
Cummings said Republicans at the State House spent the last two years “following in the footsteps of Washington and voting against hard-working Mainers.” Claiming Republicans had voted against investing in Maine’s roads and bridges, Cummings said many GOP lawmakers also voted against bills in the last session that would have improved the lives of middle-class Mainers.
“Last year, Maine Republicans voted to balance the state budget by leaving corporate welfare intact while cutting some 40,000 Maine seniors and children from the state’s health care rolls,” Cummings said in a prepared statement. “Now, two weeks before the election, they are ‘promising’ that they will strengthen Medicaid.”