David Farmer's Almanac

David Farmer's Almanac

Two recent Bangor Daily News Columns

by David Farmer on 06/01/11

Saving jobs means making tough decisions

What would you do to save 450 jobs?

That’s the question that Gov. Paul LePage and members of Maine's Legislature face in East Millinocket, where a "global asset management" company has made the business decision to abandon its mill, its workers and the community.


Victory can carry its own dire consequences

Despite strong Democratic opposition and tactics that left the Republican caucus struggling to mend itself over the weekend, many of the consumer protections in Maine insurance laws have been rewritten.

After the final votes were counted, Republicans used the power of their majorities in the House and Senate to quickly dispatch their political foes.

In the process, Rep. Pat Flood, a Republican from Winthrop and the House chairman of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, resigned his leadership role out of anger with the process.

Late Thursday night, in an attempt to solidify their victory and stop the fighting, Republicans sent LD 1333 to the Appropriations Committee with an order that it be exempted from the procedural considerations performed on most legislation that will affect the budget.

Such a move is not unheard of and can be expected near the end of the legislative session, but because it almost always explodes along party lines, the move is generally saved until after a bipartisan consensus has formed around the state budget.

The fear: Partisan power plays make budget negotiations more difficult, and Republicans must have significant Democratic support to pass a budget with the required two-thirds support.


Busting Maine's Tax Myth

by David Farmer on 04/28/11

Maine faces a number of challenges, but if we are to fix them, we have to understand what they really are.

A new study takes a look at Maine's tax burden on new investment and finds good news. But the mythology of Maine's bad business climate continues to be a talking.

If you're trying to save a troubled mill, attract a new high-tech company to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station and create jobs in the state, stop talking about the state like it's a gutter.

Maine has a lot going for it. It's time our political leaders act like it.

Read more about it in my Bangor Daily News Column: http://tinyurl.com/3fwadr6

No Labels or no substance?

by David Farmer on 04/21/11

No Labels, a group spreading the gospel of getting along, brought its roadshow to Maine over the weekend.

Despite what groups like No Labels preach, the biggest problem in politics isn't that Republicans and Democrats are mean to one another or refuse to work together. The biggest problem to finding consensus is that Republicans and Democrats don't agree on a lot of important issues.

And the reason the political leaders don't agree is because voters don't agree.

No Labels envisions a large group of people, left wandering between the two major political parties in a moderate's no man's land, unrepresented and unheard, eclipsed by the loud voices of the extremes.

It's malarkey.

Read the rest of my Bangor Daily News column with this link:


Accountability depends on separation of powers

by David Farmer on 04/19/11

Despite their constitutionally mandated independence from the governor, the attorney general, the treasurer and the secretary of state are acting like members of the LePage administration.

We have a system of checks and balances to ensure that no branch of government exceeds its constitutional powers. When the separation is ignored, government becomes less accountable to the people.

The attorney general, the treasurer and the secretary of state are elected by the Legislature and are part of the legislative branch of government. They also perform what are usually considered executive branch functions.

For the rest, check out the Bangor Daily News: http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/13/opinion/contributors/accountability-depends-on-separation-of-powers/

This duality can distort the appropriate balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of government.

For the rest, check on the Bangor Daily News: http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/13/opinion/contributors/accountability--on-separation-of-powers/http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/13/opinion/contributors/accountability-depends-on-separation-of-powers/

The debate goes on and that's a good thing

by David Farmer on 04/19/11

We like to imagine that every problem has a solution. You find the answer. You put it in place. You move on.

Public policy and government questions never really are settled.

They are like that argument you've been having with your wife for the past 12 years. There are breaks. Sometimes for months at a time. Maybe even a whole year. But the argument isn't settled. Not by a long shot. Just try bringing it up. For fun. Tonight.

For the rest of this column, follow the link: http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/06/opinion/the-debate-goes-on-and-that%e2%80%99s-a-good-thing/

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