A reminder to us all how fortunate we are to have Tim Walton as the eyes and ears of ABC in Augusta. Although a short session it was taxing. Let me share in Tim’s words a brief political affairs update. Thanks Tim!
As I am sure you are all aware by now, the Legislature left the Capitol building last Friday during the early hours of the morning with a lot of unfinished business remaining. By the time the sun rose in Augusta just a few short hours later, the finger pointing and accusations as to which party was to blame for leaving the session in such a dysfunctional posture was well underway and the media was having a field day reporting the mess just a fast as every new twist surfaced (shocking I know). In my eighteen years lobbying the Maine State Legislature on behalf of the construction industry, I have to say this was one of the most bizarre endings to a legislative session I have ever experienced. The back and forth procedural maneuvers by leadership on both sides of the aisle in the House was an incredible mix of a chess match and a game of tug-of-war; each side resolved to standing firm in their respective positions until the bitter end, which is ultimately how the night closed. To say the least, it was very ugly.
As of right now, although it is technically uncertain if/when they will come back to deal with all the bills still alive, in all practicality, especially with the big, high-profile issues remaining to be resolved, politically speaking, they have no choice but to return. I say this simply because if they don’t come back, then all unfinished business eventually dies, and in an election year, where all of the legislative seats and the Blaine House are up for grabs, neither party wants to hit the campaign trail having to defend why school funding; bonds and tax conformity (just to mention a few of the big ones) weren’t dealt with. An example of this is the school funding issue. If the legislature doesn’t come to closure on this matter, it will be very challenging for the municipalities around the state to set/approve mill rates at town meeting. The other problem, quite frankly, with them hanging onto the session for too much longer is until they adjourn “sine die”, they can’t fundraise for their respective campaigns. My prediction: they will return! NOTE: there will be a veto day scheduled, likely during the first (or possibly the 2nd) week of May. This is the day the legislature returns to sustain or override all the Governor’s veto’s made since they left.
We will keep you updated on how this all works out. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. Remember, it’s your government; ABC is your trade association!